Author: K.M. Paxton

Chapter 4

           My Renu-Pod buzzed with an announcement reading "Ice Cream Social! Meet your fellow islanders! Today, 4:30pm." running across the screen back and forth. I checked the clock and figured I had about an hour before I should show up and 'meet my fellow islanders'. Wondering if Caleb would be there and wishing there was a way I could ask him without showing up at his front door like a creeper, I suddenly heard a loud cheer from downstairs.I bounced across my trampoline floor and hopped down the stairs, only to gasp when I got to the bottom.
           The formerly white room was now all green, down to every last thing that had been white before. Julia was standing by the wall in front of a small control panel and was practically bouncing up and down with excitement.
           "Look at this!" She cried, and jammed her finger into one of the buttons on the control panel.
            The now green room turned purple. The pressed the button again and it turned from purple to yellow to blue to red to orange to black and back to white again.
            As I gazed at the room in amazement, a thought hit me. "What do you know about the Renu-Pods?" I asked her.
            "Ha!" She scoffed. "Everything!"
             "Can you show me how I can contact another person on the island?"
              She snorted loudly and shook her head. "That's basic stuff! You don't even have to hack the system for that. It's an application; if you read the handbook then you'd know."
              I forced a smile. "I'm not really good at technology. What do you have to do?"
              She rolled her eyes. "Just open up the main menu and click the 'contact' button. Then either type in a name or scroll through the profiles until you find a photo or name of who you're looking for. It's really not that hard."
               "Thanks." I managed, and collapsed onto the couch that she had just changed to green again.
                 Following her directions, I typed "Caleb De Rosso" into the search bar and his profile popped up. It showed his name, the same photo that was the background of his Renu-Pod, his address, and a small button that said "Contact Caleb". After clicking that, another menu appeared that offered the choices "Text Caleb", "Email Caleb", "Call Caleb", "Video Chat Caleb" or "Hologram Chat Caleb". Reluctantly I chose to text Caleb and figured I'd save the hologram chats for another time. I thought about what to write before getting frustrated and just sending whatever I had written.
Casey: See you at the ice cream social, right??
I wondered if I was being too creepy by finding his profile and texting him before he found mine, if he was going to. I was thinking that he wasn't that determined to find me anyway when my Renu-Pod buzzed.
Caleb: Casey, I'm so glad you found my profile….. I've been looking for yours for twenty minutes! Of course, I've never been a tech-y person. You know I'll see you there!
Sighing in relief, I clicked "reply" and started typing.
Casey: Great!! How's your house? Do you like the people you live with?
I remembered that our house was supposed to have five people in it, but I realized I'd only counted three others besides myself before we'd all run off to our rooms. At that moment, the door burst open.
                "Finally!" A girl shouted as she clamored in. "Oh, hi! I'm Emma!" She ran her fingers through her almost-waist-length wavy light brown hair. "I got confused and got on the wrong train and walked into the wrong house when I was supposed to be here. I'm okay now, though, 'cause my Renu-Pod told me I should be here. Which I am. Now." She grinned.
                 "I'm Casey." I smiled. "I live here, too." I said lamely. Why else would I be here? I sat up a little straighter. "I mean, I guess we're housemates!" I hoped I could be friends with her, considering one of our roommates was a grumpy nerd and the other was a snobby famous brat. My Renu-Pod buzzed with a text.
Caleb: IT'S AWESOME! I have some really great roommates. I hope you and this girl Tatum will be friends. She's awesome! See you there!
                 "Ooh, who are you already texting? A boy?" Emma grabbed my Renu-Pod. "Caleb Re Rosso? He's cute! Is he your boyfriend? Do you like him? Does he like you? Is he gonna ask you out? I bet he's gonna at the ice cream social! But that might be weird, considering you just met him. Oh, who cares! You guys would be cute together!"
                 I faked a laugh. "I don't think we like each other that much." I lied.
                 She smiled and handed me my Renu-Pod. "I'm gonna go get settled in!"
                 Opening up the profiles again, I typed "Tatum" into the search bar. One profile came up so I tapped it and looked at the picture. Tatum was apparently a tan girl with super-straight shoulder length dark brown hair and big dark eyes. Her profile was different than Caleb's; it was already updated with information about her. According to her info section, she was a longtime dancer and had performed onstage at hundreds of recitals across the globe. She enjoyed comedy shows, pop music, and water sports as well as all types of dance ranging from lyrical and ballet to freestyle hip hop.  A few videos were attached and as I clicked one, I realized it was her performing in the nutcracker. She was wearing a tight pink leotard with a frilly pink tutu and had toe shoes with a ribbon that wrapped up her long dancer legs. Her chin was up high and a fake grin was plastered on her tanned face. Her hair was pulled up into a tight ballerina bun and she was sashaying around the stage, making every turn and jump and move look like it came as natural as breathing to her. It probably did.
                I heard footsteps down the stairs and saw Alexis, still holding her stuffed dog, and Jesse. She cleared her throat and looked at Jesse through her dark glasses.
                "Alexis wants you to know that she won't be making an appearance at the ice cream social?" It started out as if he was making a statement, but his voice went up at the end, making it sound like a question. "We'll be at the arena working on a performance for her to show the others? But don't tell, we're trying to keep it on the down low?"
                She nodded in satisfaction and glided out the door. Jesse left after flashing a quick smile in my direction. Julia came running down the stairs.
                "Are you gonna be late for the ice cream social?" She sneered and ran out the door.
                 Emma was the last one down the stairs, her long hair set into curlers and her eyes coated in what looked to be several layers of dark black eye makeup. She had on black leather short-shorts and a white tank top with a matching leather studded vest, and her neck was covered in silver necklace after necklace. It was a big difference from her Juicy couture sweatsuit she had showed up in. She started pulling the curlers out of her hair, which bounced to curl perfection as they slid out of the rollers.
                She fluffed her long side bangs. "Well, what do you think? I loved that sweatsuit, super-comfy and all, but this is so much cuter! I mean, I wear stuff like this at home, but Alexis designed this on her Renu-Pod and I kinda borrowed the idea. Did you know that all the clothes we're going to wear have to be designed ourselves using the clothing application?" She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. "Aw, don't I look just adorable?"
                I half-smiled, stood up, and took her elbow as I pulled her out the door. "Let's go."
                "Let's hope for no drama!" She cheered.

               Yeah. Right.


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