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  The war wound line doesn’t seem appropriate, so I just swallow hard and say, “Little shaving accident.”

  “Yeah, well, now it’s a little soccer accident.” She waves a crew member over and tells him to grab a doctor’s coat from the wardrobe trailer. Before I know it, I’m being hustled over to the sidelines and told to sit on the grass. A “doctor” is bending down next to me, pretending to examine my leg. The “doctor” is my history teacher, Mr. Matthews, who had been walking to his car when he was recruited.

  Brenda calls one of the cameramen over and instructs him to film some footage of the two of us fake-talking, and him fake-wrapping. She sticks a soccer ball under my arm to lend credibility. Like I just love soccer so much that even when I get hurt I can’t part with the ball? Also, it’s very strange to have your history teacher holding your leg. Especially if it’s mutilated and hairy.

  But I can’t complain too much, because I’m so close to Jake and the others now that I can hear their dialogue on the field. From what I can pick up, Jake is the new kid in town, trying out for the school soccer team. Madison is the captain of the girls’ team and doesn’t want him to get picked for reasons we don’t know yet. No one is breaking into song, or running onto the field in a scary mask, so I’m thinking teen comedy/drama is probably the best bet. They film the scene over and over again, although it always looks the same to me. The extras have moved on to relays. Most of them look like they’re ready to keel over.

  My stomach is starting to rumble by the time the director booms, “It’s a wrap!” into his megaphone. The “doctor” helps me up and I wait for Annabelle before heading back to the locker room to grab our stuff. She reaches me right as the actors are leaving the field. We watch as Madison slips her hand possessively into Jake’s. We’re not the only ones to notice this. Behind me I hear a gasp, then an oof sound. I turn in time to see Annabelle helping Kira off the ground. She had tripped over her own feet. The commotion causes Jake and Madison to look over at us. I try to hide behind Annabelle but I’m not fast enough.

  “How are the legs?” Jake asks me.

  Unable to answer, I just smile weakly. Madison looks from Jake to me, and her eyes search my face. I can tell she’s trying to remember where she’s seen me before. Then she glances at Kira, and I can see the memory has come back to her. She starts to laugh. “Jake, you’ve got to see the book this girl made, it’s so funny you won’t bel —”

  I finally find my voice. “They look worse than they feel,” I say loudly, still wishing more than anything that I had my sweats back on.

  “That’s good to hear,” he says.

  Madison glares at me, and pulls him away. Kira hurries away, too, in the opposite direction.

  “Wow!” Annabelle says. “I think Madison Waters hates you!”

  “I know, isn’t that funny?” The girl no one ever notices is hated by a famous movie star. It’s crazy! As we leave the field, one of the production assistants hands us each twenty dollars.

  I can’t wait to tell my parents all about the filming, but when I get home, they’re acting strange. Even stranger than usual. Like they keep smiling, but then keep trying to pretend they’re not smiling by looking all serious. Sawyer is so antsy he won’t stop jumping from foot to foot. My face has pretty much returned to normal, so he’s able to make eye contact again, which is good. I keep hearing all these banging and scraping noises, but I’m too busy telling them about the filming to pay much attention.

  Eventually I get through the story, and Mom and Dad murmur all the right things like “wow” and “interesting” and “that sounds like fun!” Then Dad excuses himself to go work in the dining room, and Mom ushers a squirmy Sawyer into the other room and puts on his potty video, which quiets him right down.

  After a dinner of pizza (with mashed-up carrots and peas hidden underneath the cheese that, as usual, Sawyer doesn’t notice), I pretty much hide out in my room all night, catching up on homework. It’s weird not having my parents over my shoulder asking me if it’s finished and then going over it. But it’s not like they could do that for the rest of my life. Mom comes into the bathroom while I’m brushing my teeth and offers to clean and re-dress my wounds. I get dizzy when I see them uncovered, so I stare at a spot on the ceiling until she’s done. I’m so exhausted that I don’t even care that my bedtime isn’t officially for another half hour. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

  So it’s perfectly understandable that when I wake up an hour later to find two red, glowing eyes staring at me from across the room, I scream at the top of my lungs. Seriously, anyone would have.

  Chapter Thirteen

  I can just make out my parents’ footsteps over the sound of my screams. Untangling myself from my blanket, I jump out of bed and race for the door. It takes a few seconds for the pain in my legs to kick in, but when it does, I stumble, lose my balance, and bump into something that I can’t immediately identify in the dark, but that goes crashing to the floor with a bam.

  I stand in the middle of my room, frozen, as my parents rush in and switch on my light. Blinking fast, I look around wildly for the source of the red eyes and the bam. The first thing I see is the floor, and the huge bag with the words RABBIT PELLETS printed in big, black letters. Then I see the rabbit pellets themselves, scattered to the far corners of the room. Rabbit pellets? Why on earth would a huge bag of rabbit pellets be in my room? Unless …

  I twist around until I’m facing my dresser. Right there, right next to my old snowman lamp, is Kyle (now and forever known as Bunny) happily chomping away on a piece of lettuce.

  Dad looks sheepish. “Um … surprise?”

  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  “We thought you’d see him when you woke up in the morning,” Mom explains, gently leading me around the bag and over to the cage. “Guess we didn’t really think it through.”

  “When … how … when did you get him?” I ask, feeling my heart swell as I watch his little nose move up and down while he eats.

  “Sawyer and I picked him up this afternoon while you were filming your scene. I thought for sure Sawyer would give it away.”

  “But I thought you said I had to wait to get him?”

  Dad puts his hand on my shoulder. “We think you’re responsible enough to take care of him now. We paid for the initial expenses, and you’ll have to cover the upkeep.”

  “I will,” I promise, glancing over at the spilled food that I’ll now have to replace. I really want to hold him, but I remember reading there’s this whole process in getting them to bond with you. The middle of the night probably isn’t the best time for that.

  Mom helps me back to bed while Dad sweeps up the pellets. I gaze happily at Bunny until Dad switches off the light.

  Boy, those red eyes sure do glow in the dark.

  All I can think about at school is Bunny. I can’t wait to get home to play with him. This morning he let me hold him and stroke his nose and ears and I fed him a piece of bread, which he loved. He is soooooo cute! Mom is taking me to the pet store after school so I can buy more pellets and some chew toys.

  At lunch Sari brings us into the hair and makeup trailer. She has a badge around her neck, like the official crew members. It’s VERY cool. All she does is flash the badge and the security people part and let us through. Annabelle immediately sits down in one of the makeup chairs and starts powdering her face with a big cotton puffball. I’m afraid to try any of the makeup.

  “Look at this,” Sari says, holding up a shiny white and green shirt. “It’s part of the soccer uniform Jake wore in the scene yesterday.” She brings it to her nose and sniffs deeply. I wrinkle my nose. I mean, I like Jake, too, but I don’t feel the need to smell his sweat. She drapes it over her shoulder and then directs me into one of the chairs. Leaning over the counter, she plugs in a hair straightener and turns it on.

  “My hair’s already pretty straight,” I point out.

  She shakes her head. “This does more than just s