"Delaney!! Delaaaaneeeeeey!! Over here!!"

Delaney Morris, 14 years old and newly-Disney-Channel-hot, crossed over the red carpet to where the fans were waiting behind a heavy golden rope. The crowd let out a collective squeal of delight, their hands held high with cell phone cameras taking her picture as she shook hands with people, signed autograph books and a stuffed animal and one girl's arm with a black Sharpie.

"I love you, Delaney!" "Delaney, you are so beautiful! "Oh my god, it's Delaney!" "Delaney! Look here!" "We love your show, honey!"

She beamed, feeling a little teetery on the 5" heels the stylist had put her in. The Emmys were a huge big deal, at least all the fuss surrounding what she wore and who she went with and her makeup and what she would say made it seem so to her. She wasn't even nominated for anything or presenting, just there with her co-star, the even-hotter Zane Thomas. It was very exciting.

As she made her way down the line of fans, Delaney glanced up and saw the face of a woman with red hair, in her late 30s or 40s, looked like a nice mom-type, plain and normal. The woman smiled a tight grin at her and spoke.

"You are a disgusting little whore, Delaney."

As Delaney's face registered the sting of the shock of the words, the woman kept her smile and gaze, and seemed satisfied. Rattled, Delaney excused herself from the line, and walked back to Zane, further back on the carpet. Flashes from cameras, voices, people with wires and microphones and tuxedos and swishing dresses, swirling, hot.

"What's up, Koo-Koo? Your smile is gone."

Delaney pulled on his black jacket sleeve and spoke quietly into his ear. "Zane, this woman over there called me a whore!"

He pulled back, looked at Delaney, glanced over at the crowd, and laughed. Delaney's face fell further. He looked down at her, and softened. "Aw, kid, come on now. Does she know you?"


"Do you know her?"


"Does it really matter to you what some strange woman says?"

Delaney sadly pursed her pretty pink glossed lips, and thought. "No, I guess not. But why would she say something like that to me? Why?"

Zane laughed again, and said as he left her to walk over to the fans, "Watch!" Another squeal went up from the crowd, longer and louder, more flashes firing.

"Zane! Zane! Zane! I LOVE YOU!!!!" "Zane, can you smile for me?" "Zane, oh god it's you right here!" "You are SO GORGEOUS!" "Zane, KISS ME!"

Zane smiled his bright perfect smile and worked the crowd beautifully, a seasoned pro at 19.


As he heard the shout from a guy in the back, Zane turned to Delaney from the crowd and let out a loud laugh. He shouted back at her, and grabbed the golden rope with his hand and shook it. "See, Delaney? THIS is why!" He turned to wave and smile at the crowd, then walked back to her side.

Delaney sighed, and looked around her. "Is it always going to be like that?"



Their manager, a stout and feisty Jewish woman with expensive glasses, motioned the pair to begin moving towards the theater entrance. Zane grabbed Delaney's hand and they walked slowly in a fat fancy line, with all these others on this side of the rope.

"Delaney, you grew up in Julian? The town famous for apple pie?"


Zane laughed again and smiled at her. "Oh, Koo-Koo. It'll be OK. It will."

She looked up at her handsome friend again and smiled back. "Thanks, Zane," and squeezed his hand as the doors opened, and a rush of cool air brushed past them.