Imogen Rose's "Portal"

11/14/2010 Posted by Admin

Imogen Rose's book, "Portal," was released in January 2010 to dozens of rave reviews.  She followed that in July with "Equilibrium," also to great reviews.  Her new book, "Quantum," is just out, so please check out the new book.  Each is available in paperback and as a Kindle eBook.

But as for "Portal," the book that started Imogen Rose's popular chronicles, we have the book's trailer, its description and two chapters from Imogen Rose herself.


Book Description:

Come Find Me Two Years Ago...

Six words that propelled ice hockey playing tomboy, Arizona, into an alternate dimension. She suddenly found herself in the past.

In one moment she went from being an ice hockey playing teenager in New Jersey to a glamorous cheerleader in California. She found herself transported from a happy life with her dad, Dillard, to a new, strange one living with her mother whom she hates.  Apparently it's a life she's always lived in.

Everyone knows her as Arizona Darley, but she isn't. She is Arizona Stevens.

As she struggles to find answers she is certain of one thing- that her mother Olivia, a brilliant physicist, is somehow responsible.

PORTAL is the story of the repercussions of Olivia Darley's attempt at creating a perfect world for herself and her children. Arizona's quest for answers threatens to undermine the seemingly perfect world that her mother has so carefully constructed.

PORTAL is the first book of the Portal Chronicles. Fans of time travel, romance, and the supernatural will enjoy Arizona's quest for answers.

And now a note from Arizona and two sample chapters:

A Note from Arizona

Once upon a time... around two weeks ago, my life changed completely. Two weeks ago I would have said, I'm Arizona Stevens from Princeton, New Jersey. I go to Princeton High where I am the only girl who plays ice hockey for the varsity team. I have straight brown hair and I smell most of the time-from hockey.

Two weeks later, well, everything has changed. I'm still hazel-eyed, five-foot-two Arizona. However, I'm now Arizona Darley. I suddenly live in Mountain View, California. There has been a significant change in my general appearance. In addition to now being blond and resembling an awful Barbie doll, I do smell a lot better. I also seem to have turned into a cheerleader somehow. Well, I did have change that bit, super quick, I can't cheer.

The reason for this change? Well, that's not totally clear yet. I woke up in this new life two weeks ago, totally unprepared! After having taken my SAT's for the upteenth time in Princeton, I got into my dad's car and by the time I woke up I was in my mom's Hummer in Mountain View. I somehow had woken up in a completely different life. Sheesh! Now, I have a new dad-Rupert. And a new older bother-Harry. Mom is still the same, as is my little sister, Ella and my dog Gertrude. The weirdest thing is that everyone around me know me as Arizona Darley. I have also somehow woken up In the past... not very far into the past, just eight months, but still....

It didn't take me long to figure out that my mom was responsible for this sudden change in my life. Mom, apart from being really annoying, is also a quantum physicist. It turns out that she constructed a portal, yes some kind of time travel contraption and transported me to her new life in Mountain view! I still haven't gotten to the bottom of all the whys and hows, but I will! For now, I am stuck here, in my alternative life, until I can find a way back to my real life. It's not all bad, though. My alternative life came with one big advantage-Kellan. For someone who's never been into dating before, I can't really explain my deep attachment to Kellan....

Read the whole story in PORTAL, Portal Chronicles Book One ... including this excerpt

Chapter Three

I woke to the sound of my iPhone alarm, it was already five. I was apparently still in Barbie Arizona land. I had decided to wake early, as I’d no idea what was expected of me. Or how long it would take to get to school. I got up and printed off a map of Mountain View High so that I wouldn’t be totally lost once I got there, if I got there.

What to wear? I thought jeans and a t-shirt would be the safest way to go. I threw on a worn out hoodie to disguise myself as much as possible. I wanted to keep a low profile, which was not going to be easy with this Barbie hair. I tied it in a ponytail and stuffed it down my back. Much better. I decided that I couldn’t really head to school in flip flops, especially with pink-tipped toe nails. After rummaging around in the closet, I found a pair of muddy, black sneakers and put those on. Perfect. I grabbed my backpack and shut the door, after throwing a backward glance at my once tidy room. Well, it was back to being a mess, nothing a shut door couldn’t deal with.

I put my ear to Ella’s door and listened for morning sounds. I could hear music, so I knocked and opened the door. She was sitting on her vanity chair, drowning herself in lip-gloss. She turned around and stared at me with a bemused grin.

“What’s with the new look, Arizona? You look ridiculous.”

“What’s so ridiculous about it, Ella?” I demanded angrily.

She shrugged. “What did you do with your hair? You always wear it down!”

“Well, I feel like a change,” I said defiantly.

“Are you ready for breakfast, Ella? What time do you want to leave the house and head to school?” I asked changing the subject.

“Dad said that he would drive me on his bike this morning so I’m going with him. But I’m ready for breakfast now, let’s go.”

I was slightly concerned at Ella’s obvious distaste in my attire. What if the school kids here dressed a certain way and I’d got it totally wrong. I would stand out and that’s the last thing I wanted–attention. I looked over to see what Ella was wearing. She was wearing a pair of blue skinny jeans with a Juicy t-shirt and Uggs, so I couldn’t be that far off the mark. She was just being a pain, as usual. I was not about to start worrying about the way I dressed!

Mom and Rupert were already sitting at the table sipping coffee and pouring over newspapers as we got to the kitchen. I spied an Ames Research canvas carrier by the door, stuffed full of papers.

“Good morning, girls,” they both said in unison and looked at me with puzzled expressions. They thankfully managed to keep their thoughts to themselves. I had obviously dressed unlike Barbie Arizona normally did. Well they’d just have to deal with it for now.

“I have an early meeting, so I’ve got to rush off. Dad’s taking you to school, Ella. So, Arizona, you’re off the hook. You can head right to school this morning. Give Simla a call though, she may want you to pick her up. She got her car taken away from her last night by her mom. I don’t know the details. Rup, meet me for lunch?”

He nodded, stood up, gave her a hug and kiss. She was dressed in a pair of black slacks, a cream Chanel jacket and carried her cream Kelly bag (or old lady bag, as I like to call it) – her usual uniform. She grabbed her keys and the Ames canvas bag from the floor, blew us kisses and left.

“Arizona, can you walk Gertrude before you head off? I filled your Jeep with gas last night, so you are ready to go. Drive carefully, and I’ll see you back at the house at five. I’ll pick Ella up from school and she can hang out at the studio for a while.”

I nodded at Rupert as I went to get Gertrude’s leash, and headed off for a walk with her. A Jeep – I just couldn’t wait. I went back to the house to gather my stuff once I spied Ella and Rupert leave on his bike. I put some more food and water down for Gertrude and then went over to the garage. To the Jeep! I was beyond thrilled. I had been driving with my learners permit in Princeton for a while, but I’d never driven on my own.

The Jeep was parked in the garage, a bright yellow Wrangler. So much for keeping a low profile! There was a huge Spartans sticker on the back window. Well, at least it was clear that I was heading off to Mountain View High school this morning.

I programmed the directions into the GPS system, drive time 35 minutes. School started at 7:30 AM, I had plenty of time, but it would be good to be early. This was a first, driving by myself with no one in the passenger seat constantly nagging at me. It felt wonderfully freeing. Just me in this awesome Jeep! I could drive anywhere I wanted to, no one could stop me.

I turned the knob to the radio, but couldn’t get it to work. I decided to figure it out later. Perhaps I should head to New Jersey instead of this school. It was very tempting; I even had my own credit cards. I guessed it was about three thousand miles away? It would take me three or four days….

I drove on, without noticing my surroundings, concentrating on the GPS directions. I arrived at Mountain View High in no time, found the parking lot, parked and sat in my car watching the other students arrive. It dawned on me that I had completely forgotten to call Simla. What would she be doing here anyway? She should be back in Princeton wondering what happened to me. I’d try calling her later.

The kids arriving at school looked normal, no odd-looking vampires or werewolves. A bit disappointing really, a lone hockey playing Edward Cullen would’ve been nice. I was in the twilight zone after all. I wondered if I could take a vampire out on the ice. Of course I could!

The buses arrived, standard issue yellow school buses. As I watched the kids leave and head into the building, I decided to follow the crowds in. After quickly locking the car door, I hid under my hoodie and ran to mingle with the crowd. Keeping my head low, I stumbled my way through the throng wondering how I was ever going to find my locker, that’s if I even had one. My hood was suddenly yanked back by someone behind me, exposing me to the world! I turned around in fury, ready to floor who ever it was– Simla.

“Hey, why didn’t you call me? I was forced to take the bus this morning!” Then she looked at me curiously, “Are you hiding from someone?”

I shrugged off her question. “ What’s up with your car, Simla?”

“Did your mom not give you my message?” she asked irritated.

I shook my head, “I guess she forgot.”

Simla proceeded to bring me up to date with her car woes. Something about a bad grade on the trig test (didn’t we do trig last year?) and then telling her mom that she was going to drop out. I stopped listening, she sounded so different, so whiney. It seemed like her car had been confiscated for a week and by the sound of things she expected me to drive her around. Well, she was going to have to re-think that. I had other things to do, I think….

I noticed a lot of “Hi, Arizona” coming from all directions. I guess everyone knew me. I put on my best sunshine smile and waved a hello in all directions, trying not to offend anyone. I had no idea who these people were.

“Arizona, could you do my trig homework tonight? I want to sneak out and hook up with J?” Simla asked as we walked along the corridor.

“I guess,” I said hesitantly wondering who J was. I had no idea what I had to do myself this evening.

“Simla, come walk with me to my locker, I want to show you something.”

She looked excited. I let Simla get in front of me and I followed her to my locker. I quickly took some books out of my backpack so both my hands were occupied.

“Can you open it? My hands are full.”

I watched her turn the combination lock, same numbers I always used, great!

“So, what do you have for me?” she asked as two girls I had never seen in my life before came over, hugged me and grabbed my arms.

“Come on, we’re late!” the taller one said as she pulled at me.

“Later, Simla,” I shouted as I was dragged along the corridor. Hopefully she’d lock up for me. I turned around and did a “lock my locker” impression with my hands at her. She looked annoyed.

“Are you ready for the game tonight, Arizona? It’s so exciting!”

Game, what game? Was I due to play in an ice hockey game? I had no idea where my kit was. Possibly at the back of Mom’s Hummer, there was a lot of hockey stuff there.

I nodded at the two girls wondering who they were. I tried to get a closer look at them as we hurried along the corridor. Platinum blondes, very pretty, designer jeans and tank tops. Lip gloss that put Ella’s to shame. Fabulous heels. I guessed that these were my two BFFs and guessed that I normally dressed like them. No wonder Ella had been horrified.

“Yes, very exciting. Remind me, where we’re meeting?” I asked.

“Oh, the usual place,” said the taller of the two.

I instinctively knew their names, Maria and Ali and I felt comfortable with them. There was no awkwardness when Ali, the taller blonde, pulled lip gloss out from her bag and dabbed it onto my lips. It was mango, very pleasant.

She kissed my forehead and said, “See you at lunch!”

I smiled and waved at her. I noticed heads turning as she walked up the corridor toward her classroom. Not surprising really, she was amazingly beautiful.

Maria looked at me and said, “You look a bit different. Is everything ok? Did you hurt your feet?” She pointed at my dirty black sneakers perplexed.

“I think I may be coming down with something so ignore me today.” I offered as a sad excuse for my obviously shabby look.

“I hope you’re going to be ok for the game?”

“Don’t count on me, I’m feeling a bit nauseous.”

“Oh, you poor thing, I’ll keep an eye on you during our classes, nudge me if you need to go to the nurse,” she said kindly as she took me by the elbow and led me toward another corridor.

“Thanks, Maria,” I said gratefully. I followed her along the corridor, acutely aware that we had the same effect as Ali when we walked along. Lots of head turning, staring and a lot of “hellos.”

“How’s the new dog?” Maria asked as we walked along.

New dog? Did she mean Gertrude? Gertrude wasn’t new.


“You named her Gertrude? That’s so cute!”

“Gertrude’s fine,” I said as we passed a group of girls who all turned around to me.

“There you are, Arizona!”

Yes, indeed, I thought to myself, here I am apparently, though I should be in Princeton….

It was the debate team by the looks of their t-shirts. One grabbed my arm and murmured, “Meeting at 1 PM, Dinner Hall, don’t forget to wear your t-shirt.”

I smiled and whispered, “Ok” as I hurried to follow Maria around a sign that read Science Quad. I followed her into a classroom, careful to not look at anyone and sat down on the seat next to hers. I watched her get her books out of her backpack, physics, great! I had never been in a physics class. I looked at the calendar, October 6th 2008. The last time I had been at school it had been June 5th, 2009. I guess the calendar was wrong. I quickly checked the date on my iPhone. It was October 2008. I felt a chill. How had I not noticed that before?

“Put that away, Arizona. You don’t want it taken away!” Maria hissed.

I quickly threw the phone back into my backpack, setting it on vibrate first. Not sure why, as it had been spookily quiet in the last few days.

“When did your mom give you the cell phone back? It’s great, we can text again,” she said.

The class went silent as a stubby, middle-aged woman entered the room.

“Dr. Lee is away at a conference today, so I will be substituting. My name is Mrs. Shire. Take your books out and read Chapter Three.”

I turned the pages until I got to Chapter Three and stared incomprehensively at the words. I had no idea what it all meant, it might as well have been in Spanish, which I totally suck at. I would read this later at home. I spent the time studying my fellow students instead. I looked around as much as I could.

There were fourteen students in this class. On the other side of Maria, was a girl with a Debate Team t-shirt. She winked at me as she caught me glancing over at her. She was Asian, very pretty with striking blue eyes. I instinctively knew that her name was Lily. She was sitting next to another Asian girl, also pretty; she smiled at me too… Amanda. There was one more girl in class, way at the back so it was difficult to turn around and get a good look at her. She was bent forward peering over her book, ear buds on. Her hoodie was so far down her face that I couldn’t make out her features. I had no idea who she was.

Maria nudged me. “She’s new,” she whispered. “Her name is Ariele and she is apparently from New Jersey.”

Ariele? From New Jersey? Could it be my BFF from Princeton? She was moving to California. How awesome! I felt both excited and scared, a shiver ran down my spine and I trembled. Maria looked at me with concern. I shook my head to indicate I was ok, and made sure not to look at Ariele again. I wasn’t sure how to handle this yet. I wondered if Ariele had seen me? She probably wouldn’t recognize me anyway with this ridiculous hair.

Of the nine boys in the class, four were Asian and three from India. None of them looked up from their books once, totally entranced by Chapter Three, whatever that was about. The other two boys were sitting right behind me. One yanked at my hair. I turned around – Justin!

“Can you drop Simla off at my house later?” he asked in a hushed voice.

“Simla? Why?” I asked bemused. They had never given each other the time of day before.

I couldn’t help but notice the boy sitting next to Justin. He was staring at me with a smirk that really riled me.

“What’s your problem?” I demanded challengingly as I scowled at him.

I could hear a sharp intake of breath from him as he shrugged his shoulders and whispered, “What’s up, Shrimp?”

Shrimp? I stared at him in disbelief and then turned back to Justin.

“Talk about it later, Justin,” I whispered.

I turned around again and pretended to read, but I could feel the boy next to Justin glowering at my back. I couldn’t help looking back again and caught his stare. He was breathtakingly attractive and so familiar, although I couldn’t place him.

“What’s up with you and Kellan?” Maria asked in a whisper.

I shrugged. In all honesty, I hadn’t a clue. At least I knew his name now. I’d have to figure out the history later.

The bell sounded and it was time to move classrooms. I quickly checked my schedule hoping it was something easy: computer lab, perfect.

“Come on,” said Maria.

Good, I thought to myself. She is in my next class as well; I’d just follow her. We walked past the swimming pool and gym, around the library to the computer labs. Someone shoved passed me roughly and I dropped my bag. I saw Ariele hurry along ahead, without looking back. Maria helped me retrieve my bag and then we rushed along to class.

Computer lab was a breeze. It was fun and passed quickly. Then it was time for lunch. The cafeteria was just across from the computer lab. Maria and I crossed the hallway, but I stayed half a step behind her so I could follow her lead. Justin got to the door first and held it open for us.

“Ladies,” he smiled.

We walked toward Ali, who was already sitting at a table with a bunch of girls. There were two empty chairs for us. I threw my bag on one of them and made my way to the fruit counter. I picked up a banana, an apple and a drink of water. I was more nervous than hungry, having to deal with the girls at lunch.

And, of course, there was the upcoming “game” to fret about. I glanced quickly around the cafeteria trying to get some bearing. This place was definitely cliquey. I could easily make out the different groups. I looked over at mine. Now, I was worried. The softball team maybe… a very glamorous softball team?

The girls were deep in conversation about the game when I sat down. I listened trying to understand what they were talking about. Why didn’t I have any instinct about this?

“Well, I guess at the end of the day it’s really up to Arizona, she’s the vice captain and Julia is off sick, so I guess Arizona is in charge,” Ali said looking at me expectantly.

I nearly choked! I had no idea how to respond. “Ali, to tell you the truth, I’m not feeling that good today, slightly nauseous. Could you take over?” I suggested hoping for the best.

“Sure thing, will you at least come and watch?” she asked obviously delighted at being put in charge.

“I’ll try,” I promised.

Lily’s tapping on my shoulders rescued me, “Time for the debate team meeting. Coming?”

Debate team? I suddenly felt overwhelmed and light headed; I could feel the blood draining from my face.

I heard Maria get up, saying, “I’ll take her to the nurse,” as she took me by the hand and led me out.

“I’m ok, really, I just need some fresh air. I’m going to cut the rest of the day, but could you come and pick me up for the game? I’ll come and watch.”

“Sure thing, let me walk you to your Jeep,” she said as she put her arm around my waist and walked me out.

Chapter Four

I meant to drive straight home, but had to slow down and pull into the hard shoulder, five minutes past the school. I couldn’t see ahead of me for the tears welling up in my eyes. So, I put my head down on the steering wheel, trying to erase all thoughts from my mind. I just wanted to think about nothing. I yearned for emptiness. The millions of questions and thoughts swirling around in my head were driving me insane. It felt good letting the tears drip on to my wheel. I needed the release.

My peace was interrupted by a loud knock on the passenger side door. It opened. I was terrified! I should have locked the doors. My body tensed into action and I swirled around with my fists up looking for something that I could use as a weapon. The helmet wearing, leather-clad man who had opened the door, took a step back as I leaned forward to strike. He hastily removed his helmet. I couldn’t make out who it was through my tears.

“Shrimp, it’s just me, calm down,” he said as he took a step forward again. I felt myself relax at the sound of the voice. It was familiar. It was comforting. I looked at him again, rubbing the tears from my eyes. It was the boy from physics. Kellan? Now I was totally humiliated.

“Can I get in?” he asked hesitantly.

I didn’t want him to, but found myself nodding in response and watched him climb in and sit beside me. He turned and slowly reached for my hands. I immediately drew away, putting them safely under my legs and looked away trying to ignore him.

“Arizona, I want to help, but if you’re not going to talk to me, will you at least let me drive you home?”

I nodded without looking at him, got out and walked around to the passenger’s seat. He put his bike behind the trees and got into the Jeep, and we drove home. I spent the entire journey staring out my window, not saying a word. I could feel him wanting to talk to me, but I guess he decided to leave it alone. It was 2 PM as we pulled into the driveway.

Rupert was sitting on the porch steps strumming on a wooden guitar. He was bent over it, eyes closed. He looked peaceful and happy. He looked up and smiled when he saw the Jeep. Kellan pulled the Jeep right up to the porch and stopped abruptly as Gertrude ran down the steps and flung herself at the car.

“Hey, kids! What are you doing home, Arizona?” Rupert asked putting his guitar down and taking hold of Gertrude.

“I was feeling a bit nauseous, so I decided to come home and rest for a while.”

Rupert looked concerned and said, “Go and lie down. Are you still going to the game?”

“Yes, I promised to turn up to watch, Ali is taking over for the evening. Maria is picking me up at six.”

I looked over at Kellan and murmured, “Thanks,” as I picked Gertrude up and walked up the steps to my room. She was clearly happy to see me. I tried to avoid being licked in the face as she scrambled around in my arms, wagging her tail furiously. I remembered what Maria had said earlier, “New dog.” I had been given Gertrude as an early birthday gift five years ago. She was in no way new.

I couldn’t resist peeking out the window when I got to my room. Kellan was still by the porch talking to Rupert although I couldn’t see Rupert from where I watched. I couldn’t take my eyes of Kellan. Something about him had me mesmerized. Rupert came into view as the two of them walked toward Rupert’s bike, got on and rode away. I guessed to get Kellan back to his bike.

I was emotionally drained, too tired to think anymore so I lay down for a short nap.

I woke feeling groggy. It was just after four. I gulped down the now tepid water that Rupert must have brought up when I was asleep and made my way to the shower. The cold water struck my face, waking me up. Once the water warmed, I washed my hair. With the trusted pink towel wrapped around me once again, I went down to the kitchen to make myself some coffee. Gertrude was there, poking her nose at a cupboard and whining. I opened it, ah… the treat cupboard. I grabbed her favorite kind of bone and held it out to her. She jumped up and grabbed it, scooting off in a hurry. After making myself a really strong cup of coffee, I walked back up to my room where I switched the computer on to check the school website for today’s game schedules.

The swim team was having a competition and there was a basketball game scheduled. I checked the ice hockey roster, nothing. I did notice that the tryout for the varsity team was Thursday night. Maybe I should go?

I tried to narrow down the options that I could be involved in this evening. I’m no good at swimming so I couldn’t possibly be on the swim team. I had a look at the competition pictures on the website. No sign of me, or any of the other girls from our lunch table. Basketball? I’m not tall enough and I’m miserably inadequate at basketball but perhaps it was an all girls team, which could be fun.

I checked the website again, no girls team. There were a lot of pictures of the boys though. Mountain View High seemed to have a strong basketball team. I looked closely at the pictures… surely not! This couldn’t possibly be right….

A CHEERLEADER! I’m a cheerleader; surely Mom would never allow that? But there I was – front and center with the most nauseating sunshine smile ever, in an outfit that shouldn’t be allowed in high schools. Thank goodness I’d excused myself from this evening’s performance. What a nightmare! Except this situation had gone on too long for it to be a dream for sure. This was really happening.

I was a cheerleader, which would explain my current Barbie look. This was a total deal breaker. I decided that I had to play for the varsity ice hockey team, not just try out but play.

Still shocked at my discovery, I dried off and got dressed quickly. I called Maria and told her that I would meet her at the game. There was something I had to do first.

Google helped me find the nearest hockey supply stores. Play It Again Sports was a mile from the high school. Perfect! I grabbed my credit cards, jumped into my Jeep, plugged the address into my GPS and rushed off. I parked and hurried into the store. The ice hockey department was limited, but I managed to grab hold of a friendly shop assistant who helped me out. And then I did something a bit (understatement of the year) strange – I bought a pink helmet. I purchased a bag and stuffed all the items into it except my new U+ stick, my new pride and joy.

The drive to school felt different, it was thrilling glancing over at my new hockey gear. With the Jeep parked and safely locked, I ran over to the gym. I was early. There was a lot of noise coming from the gym, I opened the door, and someone shouted, “They are over in the small gym!”

So I walked passed the weight room and went to the small gym. The girls were congregated in one corner.

“Hey, Arizona, glad you came! How are you feeling?” a pretty brunette asked as she came running up to me.

“Better, but I’m going to sit this one out and cheer the cheerleaders!”

Maria walked over to me, “You sure? You still look a bit flushed.”

“I’m ok, really, and I do want to talk to you and Ali about something. Can we grab a pizza after the game?”


“Ok, let’s get started girls!” I heard Ali shout. I looked over at her, she was glowing with excitement, I winked at her and she winked back happily. They got into formation and started with the sequence. I zoned out thinking about Thursday’s hockey tryout. There was no doubt that I was going to have to fight all the battles I had to overcome when I did this at Princeton.

My cell phone startled me by coming to life with a sharp tone. Strange, it never rings; even Mom uses text. It was Simla. Oh no! I had totally forgotten about her. I vaguely remembered that I was supposed to be doing something for or with her tonight, I couldn’t remember what.

“Hey, Simla, what’s up?”

“You were going to give me a ride to Justin’s and do my trig homework….”

I interrupted her whining, “Simla, I have a game on. Get your mother to drop you off here. She’s not going to say ‘no’ to that, and Justin can pick you up from here. I’ll meet you early before school and I’ll do your homework then.”

What a pain, whatever happened to Simla? What was she doing here anyway?

“Oh, never mind, I’ll have Justin pick me up, he’ll do my homework, too,” she said as she metaphorically slammed the phone down. I could feel her disappointment and anger. I would sort it out with her tomorrow.

The game? Well, since I’m not into basketball at all, I didn’t pay much attention. I cheered for the cheerleaders, they were awesome. There was no way I could have done any of that. No amount of instinct could have helped me out.

The Spartans won, madness ensued, the team rushed at me and I was up on someone’s shoulder. I felt like I was riding a crazed camel. Everyone was cheering. I threw my hands up in the air and tried to follow the cheering. The camel ride seemed to last an awfully long time, and I thought I would hurl on the camel’s head when I was finally lifted down. The camel turned out to be Robert, the team captain and Ali’s boyfriend. I hoped that this wouldn’t have any repercussions as Ali came bounding up to me. Her first triumph and she was on cloud nine. Robert scooped her up and they took off.

“Arizona, do you want to ride to the party with me?” Maria asked.

“Sure, Maria. That would be great. Can we get some pizza first? I need to talk to you and Ali, but she took off so I guess it’s just you and me.”

“Oh, Ali is riding with us too. She probably just went to get changed. I’ll go and get changed too and meet you here in ten?”

I nodded as she took off. I waited, pretending to talk on the cell phone so people would leave me alone. I was doing a good job having an imaginary altercation with my mom.

A text beep sounded.

When are you getting back home? (from my mother)
Is 11 pm ok?
Thanks Mom

That would give me a good excuse to leave the party early. Maria and Ali appeared. Ali was still glowing with excitement. I hugged her.

“You did great, Ali! That’s the best I’ve ever seen the squad perform.”

She beamed and we walked toward Maria’s car.

“I’ll follow you guys in the Jeep. Mom wants me home early.”

“Ok, Arizona. Shall we head to the pizza parlor at the mall?”

Maria and Ali got into a red truck as I got into my Jeep and started the engine. I glanced fondly over at my new U+ before I followed the red truck out of the parking lot. We pulled into the strip mall with the sports shop I had visited earlier and parked right outside a small pizza place. We were the only customers. Since I had barely managed lunch, I was starving. We ordered a slice each and sat down in the corner. Maria and Ali looked at me curiously.

“So what’s up, Arizona? It seemed serious,” Maria said as she took a big bite off her slice.

“I’m thinking of giving up cheerleading.” I had decided to get straight to the point. Maria put her slice down and Ali just stared at me.

Maria stuttered, “Cheerleading is our life, it’s what we do! You can’t give it up! Why would you even say such a thing?”

“I want to give something else a try and cheerleading will clash with it.”

“What?” Ali practically yelled at me.

I hesitated and murmured, “Ice hockey.”

They went silent and looked at each other with somber expressions. Then they burst into laughter amidst snorts and guffaws. Ali’s face was streaming with tears.

“O-M-G, that’s the funniest thing ever! That’s why we love you so, you are hysterical but B-A-D! You really had us going there for a minute.”

I took a deep breath and ran my fingers through my hair.

“Wait here a second, I have something to show you,” I said and then left to get my U+ from the Jeep. The girls were still laughing when I came back in, but stopped short when they saw my stick. Maria gave Ali a knowing smile.

“Trying to impress Kellan? I thought something was up with you two in physics today. Suddenly interested in him? This isn’t the way to go though!” She teased.

“No! Ali, Maria … I’m serious. I’m trying out on Thursday for the varsity team. It’s just something I have to do. Please try to understand. I’ll still hang with you guys and come to as many cheer meetings as I can.”

They both looked at me in disbelief, “You can’t even skate well!” Ali murmured.

I shrugged my shoulders, they could be right. “I just want to give it a try. Humor me, please?”

They looked at me like I had just completely lost my mind. I guess in a way I had.

“Will you come and watch me try out on Thursday?” I pleaded. This was going to be hard enough; I really needed their support.

“I’ve even got a pink helmet, just for you,” I tempted.

“They won’t let you, Arizona. It’s an all boys team,” said Maria. “Does Harry know?”

I had no idea who she was referring to so I ignored it for now. Perhaps he was the coach?

“I’ve checked the rules out. They’ll probably try to stop me, but they are legally bound to let me try out with the boys if they don’t have a girl’s team.”

Ali looked thoughtful, “Does that mean that boys can try out for the cheer squad? Yikes!”

“I thought something was up with you today,” said Maria. “Of course, we’ll support you in whatever you decide to do and we’ll be there to cheer you on Thursday. We were all planning to go anyway, weren’t we? If you haven’t told Harry yet, let’s keep this to ourselves for now and not spill at the party.”

I nodded.

“Let’s go, hockey girl,” she said as she grabbed my stick and walked out the door.

I followed them to Robert’s house. We were late but we got a loud cheer. Ali went straight to Robert, kissed him and we didn’t see her again. Maria and I found some chairs by the pool and sat down. We sipped our drinks watching the others goof around. I wasn’t really in the mood since I didn’t know or at least remember any one here. I didn’t see any signs of Justin, Simla, Ariele or Kellan, which I was thankful for. Maria seemed a bit somber too.

“What’s up, Maria? Not in a party mood?”

She shook her head as a bunch of basketball players surrounded us.

“Hi, Arizona, Maria! Where’s Harry? I thought he’d come tonight,” said one of them.

“He’s up in Vancouver at a captain’s camp. He’ll be back tomorrow,” replied Maria.

“Cool,” said the boy, “Tell him ‘hi’ from me.”
“We will, Ron. I think I’ll head off. You ready to go, Arizona?”

I nodded. I had been ready to go before we had even arrived here. I guessed that Harry was Maria’s boyfriend and perhaps the hockey captain?

“Yes, let’s go Maria, I bet you’ve missed Harry?”

“Yes, it will be good to see him. I’m sure you and Ella have missed him too,” she said as we walked back to the car.

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