Authors: Sarah Billington
THE KISS OFF
Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Billington
A Kiss Off Novel
Copyright © 2013 by Sarah Billington
All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles, reviews and fandom. For information, direct all enquiries to
Cover Design by
Interior formatting by
ebook is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
OVER IT (The Kiss Off 2)
I strolled onto the grassy lawn of the Mapleleaf Flea Market toward Mads’s vintage clothing stall, waving a piece of paper in the air in front of me. A most excellent piece of paper. Of all the pieces of paper in the world, this one was by far my favorite.
I handed her the check I had received yesterday morning with the post and she peered at it curiously.
She gasped, her eyes widening "Shut up."
"Yep." I beamed.
"Royalties, baby," I said. "I'm a bona fide songwriter.
The Kiss Off
is a freaking gold mine, who woulda thought?"
I already knew Mads was an excitable person, but I didn't expect what happened next. She started bouncing on the spot, maybe she was jumping…jogging…I couldn't tell underneath the doily dress. She was dressed to show off her fashionable – and not so fashionable – wares, all layered up in a fox fur throw, Chantilly lace top with a white tank underneath and a floor–length lace and satin skirt that made her look like Toilet Roll Dispenser Barbie.
She started bouncing higher, with more intensity, wringing her hands in front of her. And then she started screaming and hitting me, slapping me again and again on the arm.
The women at her racks of clothes looked on, concerned. Some of them backed away a little, rethinking their interest in shopping here. The flap of Mads’s makeshift dressing room lifted and a brunette clutching a pink prom dress to her bare chest peered out, joining us all as we watched what appeared to be Miss Haversham having a fit, like she'd just been hit with an invisible taser. It was an extreme reaction, sure, but I’d pretty much had the same one at home where the only witness had been the dog.
"Okay Mads," I said, shuffling a few steps away so I’d be out of reach of her slapping arm. I flitted my gaze at all of the eyes trained on us. I knew she'd be excited, but this...
"So um," I said, clearing my throat as I snatched the check back out of her hand. "As you can see, my royalties came in." I stuffed the check deep into my pocket.
"Poppy!" Mads screeched. She grabbed me by both shoulders, digging her fingers in. "You're minted, you're rich, you're freaking
"Yeah, alright," I said, wrestling her fingers from my skin. "Ow, Mads, stop. Will you chill? It had come to my attention, yes," I said. "I'm completely moneyed–up now."
"Think how many shoes you could buy with that," Mads said with a dreamy sigh.
Yeah, or guitars. "I
buy shoes," I said, "but I had a way better idea."
From my other pocket, I pulled out a flyer, unfolded it and pressed it against Mads' pearl– and lace–clad chest. Frowning, she turned it around so she could read it.
"See that?" I said, pointing at the feature band name on the flyer. "Ty told me last night. Academy of Lies are headlining Bay Fest over in Tallulah Bay."
"They're headlining? Are you serious?"
I grinned. "Pack your bags, baby."
"Two words: road trip," I said. "One word: camping."
"Four wor-” I paused and frowned for a second. “Is it four? Yeah – four words: Weekend by the sea."
"Four more words-"
"Enough with the words already."
"I'm nearly done," I said, "four final words: you, me and Van."
She bit her bottom lip, staring me straight in the eye when she started wringing her hands in front of her again. Her head was about to explode clean off, I knew it.
And then she started bouncing.
"No," I said, "no,
. You shut up. You start screaming again and you're not coming."
Instead, Mads squeezed me in a bear hug and planted a kiss on my cheek. "I'm going to Babe Fest. I'm going to Babe Fest!"
A woman patted her on the shoulder. “Excuse me, err…”
"Hmm? Oh, totally cute, right?” Mads said. “That one's $50."
Tallulah Bay Music Festival. Or Babe Fest. Of all the nicknames in the world, it could have been a lot worse. And it wasn’t like it wasn’t accurate. It was definitely going to be a babe fest, because Ty was going to be there. Butterflies flutterbied in my stomach. In a good way. An excited way. I hadn’t seen him in forever. Sure, we Skyped, and he was on TV and the radio and stuff, and of course I followed him on Twitter, but I hadn’t really seen him, in the flesh, in over a month.
Mads shut down excitement mode and went all businesswoman for a few minutes as she sold a few more dresses and one hideous–looking pant suit before she brought her attention back to me. Seemed she was good at compartmentalizing. Who knew? Also, who knew a fit of jumping and screaming would be so good for business?
She gave me a happy sigh and had another look at the festival flyer. "Holy crap, The Himbos are going to be there as well? They are so hot. And Justina Farthing? I freaking love her. And…” she paused and her eyes widened a little before she lifted her gaze them to meet mine.
So she’d spotted it. I played it cool.
“Did you see Lexie De Graff is playing, too?”
I pretended to inspect my nails, like it was no big thing. “Yeah. She’s okay, I guess.”
Mads rolled her eyes, folded the flyer back up and threw it at me. She knew what Lexie De Graff meant to me. The woman was my idol. I picked up my first guitar and wrote my first ever song when I was eleven because of her. Her songs, her music spoke to me.
“You have to meet her,” Mads said, matter–of–factly.
I grimaced, suddenly nervous. I wasn’t sure I could. How do you meet your idol, anyway? What do you say to them? And what if they’re not as amazing as you think they are? What if they’re just normal, everyday human beings?
“Maybe,” I said. Before Mads could get all worked up and like ‘Maybe is bullshit, you are
meeting her’, I hurried on. "So anyway, you don't have any plans for that weekend, right?"
"Uh," Mads said, looking at me like I was stupid, "now I do!"
I beamed at her. All I needed now was for Vanya to be in and we would be all set. This was going to be amazing.
The best weekend ever.
"Ha,” Mom said with an annoying smirk as she rinsed lettuce in the kitchen sink. “That’s a good one. Keep dreaming, Poppy.”
I scowled at her and crossed my arms in a huff. Poo Bum danced around her legs, did a lap of the island table, then nudged her knees into the cabinets with his nose.
"Pool, stop it, shoo!" Mom said. Instead of shooing, he planted himself at her feet and gazed up at her, his tongue hanging out one side of his mouth and his shaggy tail sweeping the floor.
"No dreaming," I said, "living. Doing. I'm going."
"No, you're not. You're sixteen. Get out of here, Poo! Shoo!" Mom'd been trying ever since we’d formally made the once stray dog a Douglas family member to call him something else. Anything else. My stupid brother Rory had started calling him Poo Bum (for obvious reasons if you knew him) and when he started coming when called, the name had stuck.
When Mom had officially registered him at the council, she’d written down that he was called Swimming Pool. She told them it was an inside joke. I guess she figured Pool was similar to Poo, but less embarrassing to yell throughout the neighborhood when he bolted down the street after the garbage truck. And they're so similar; the hope had been that he'd respond to that instead.
At last, called by his one true name, he barked, turned in a circle then sprinted from the kitchen like he was chasing air. Freak.
"You mean nearly
"Nearly seventeen, but not," Mom said. "There's no way I'm letting three sixteen–year–old girls drive halfway across the country
to go to a music festival. My cousin Margie went to Woodstock, you know."
"Firstly it’s not halfway across the country, it’s like six hours,” I said, “and second: oh my God, Mom, it's not going to be like Woodstock. Bay Fest is way different. “
"Well it's not the ‘70s, for one."
She sighed at me, her patience wearing thin. "Oh, really? You're trying to tell me that people don't drink and do drugs at music festivals anymore?"
By the look on her face, I got the feeling she didn't quite believe me.
"Maybe they do," I said. "But not at this one."
She rolled her eyes.
"Fine!" I said. "Whatever!
won't be drinking and doing drugs, then, how's that?
can we go?"
"Poppy, honey, unless you want your daddy to chaperone you – we all know how much he loves his pop music – then you're not going."
I cringed at the mental image of my dad shaking it to Lexie De Graff. Or worse: Academy of Lies.
”No. There's no way ever in a million years, never, never, ever that Dad is coming with me, and besides, everyone else my age gets to go away unsupervised. Georgia Hyland and her friends went to Cabo last summer. By
. When they were
. They went to a whole other
"Well then Georgia Hyland's parents are idiots," Mom said.
"They came back fine!" I said. She didn’t need to know about the rumors that Melanie Brixton got so high on magic mushrooms she took a joy ride on one of those zebra–striped donkeys they have and spent a night in a totally unsanitary prison cell. It was an unconfirmed rumor, anyway. They never talked about that trip. Seemed what happened in Cabo stayed in Cabo.
I refocused the conversation and got back on point. "
, Van's coming. The good one. The uber–responsible one. Seriously, is she not chaperone enough?"
"'Mom' nothing," she said. "I'm sorry honey, but you're not going, end of discussion."
She turned her attention back to the lettuce leaves for the stupid, boring salad she had started making to accompany every stupid meal my stupid dad cooked us since the stupid summer started. The salads were her stupid attempt at convincing us that she
actually domestic and
It wasn't working.
"You act like you can't trust me," I said.
She laughed a loud "Ha!"
I glared at her.
"Give me a good reason to trust you, honey," Mom said. "Please, I'm begging you. I'm dying for a reason."
I supposed the last couple of months weren't the best examples, what with my YouTube meltdown over Cam and Nikki–shaped boy drama which turned into a hit song, and how I sexted my tatas to my rock star boyfriend and it ended up all over TMZ and the world wide web. The
But that was totally two months ago. Ancient history; life had calmed down, things were good with Ty and I had stopped jumping to conclusions every time a hot fan girl threw herself at my rock–God boyfriend. And with attention on me and
The Kiss Off
dying down since the Academy had just released their second single, I'd started actually focusing and learning stuff when Van forced me to study. I'd turned into a complete golden child, truly.
But it seemed my efforts were wasted because clearly my mom hadn’t noticed.
She smirked to herself, shaking her head as she poured a punnet of cherry tomatoes into the strainer.
"How exactly did you plan on taking this road trip, anyway?" she said. "You didn't think Dad and I would loan you the car for a week, did you?"
I tilted my chin a little higher. "It’s four days,” I corrected her. “Leave on Friday, festival on Saturday and Sunday, home on Monday. And duh, I'm not an idiot."
She snorted and raised her eyebrows. I was really starting to dislike my mother right now.