A Rise, A Fall

By Blake Wasson

Hey, what’d you get for your birthday, Elise?” June said.

“Oh, I got a Barbie, a stuffed animal, and best of all, a new phone!” said Elise.

“Really? I always wanted one! I’ve been asking my parents for the longest of times. Ever since I found out that there was something that small that could be carried in my pants like a pocket purse, I have always wanted one. How’d you convince them?” June said.

“Oh, I got it by doing the same thing. What’s different about yours?” Elise said, hiding a smirk.

“Well, every time I ask they laugh and look at me like I’m weird. They always say, ‘You’re too young. We didn’t even have phones back in the day.’ It’s so annoying!” June exclaimed.

“Well, maybe we can just play with my phone! I’ve already downloaded some awesome games!” Elise said, steering the topic in a new direction.

“Alright, I guess. Maybe we can try to come up with a better idea for me to get one too. Then, we can talk with each other with messenger and play together!” June reasoned.

“Okay!” Elise exclaimed.

“So, what’re you planning?” questioned Elise.

“Oh, I’m planning on making an undeniable point! I’ll bring together the best facts your phone can give us and tell my parents.” June said, confidence rising in her voice.

From there, they looked up the best reasons for getting a phone. The points that they went with were emergency use, quality of life, and learning purposes.

“Okay. here we go. I’ll see you tomorrow after I talk to them. With any luck, they’ll finally buy me one. My birthday is still two months away, but I might be able to wait.” June said.

“Alright! I’m getting even more excited too! With that, we can play all sorts of games together, and we can show each other the things that we’re doing for fun, oh, we could also talk together! I’m so excited!” said Elise.

*Later when June gets home from school* “Hey Mom, Dad! How was umm…work?” June questioned.

“Oh, it was great Honey!” said Mom.

“Meh, it was work. Nothing more to it,” said Dad.

“So, what’s for dinner? Cheesecake? Ice cream?” June questioned, then added, “A new phone?”

“Ooooh, a phone for dinner? That doesn’t seem right,” said Mom.

“Ya, I didn’t know you could eat food. Is there some ability you’re not telling us, Hun?” said Dad.

With a burst of laughter, June exclaimed, “Okay, you know that’s not what I mean! But, now that we’re speaking about the phone stuff…I have three good reasons why we should get one! First of all, it would give me a good thing in case of an emergency. What’re your ideas?”

“Well, I’m thinking that it’s a fine point. However, what danger are you going to be in? The only places you go by yourself are school and friends’ houses. There’s no place where you’re going to get the chance to use it.” said Mom.

“Mom, hold on! Let me keep going!” June said, exasperated. Mom let out a slight giggle at this, thinking to herself how almost cute it is that June asked for her thoughts and then ignored them.

“Alrighty! The second reason I should get a phone is because I, uh, oh ya! The second reason is that they are fun to play with. This makes my happiness go and break its limits and levels that have never been reached before! Skipping onto the final reason, it can be something I can learn stuff from!” June reasoned.

“Care to say what ‘stuff’ you can learn from this phone?” inquired Dad.

Flabbergasted, June said, “I, uh, math? Ya! Math! I can learn a whole bunch of math and stuff! Also, it’s almost my birthday, so, you know, that’s a pretty good gift. I would give up every other gift for just that one gift. Pleeeeeease!” June pleaded.

“Alright, maybe. JUST maybe, you can have it. It will be a surprise. Maybe not only to you…” Mom said carefully.

“However, it’s no guarantee. Remember that, June,” warned Dad. “Maybe if you want to convince us a little more, do some more chores throughout the house. It’s always appreciated,” Dad said.

“Yes, anything!” said June excitedly. “Since my friends already have one, I’ve been missing all of their games and I’m left out of some of their jokes. So, with that, I can play with them! There’s Elise, there’s Luna, and then Alicia.” June said with an attempt at a persuasive voice.

“You’ll have to invite them over sometime. Maybe even for your birthday. Maybe you’ll get to play with them if you know what I mean!”

*Later, about a year and a half later when she’s just over eleven years old.* “Hey, Alicia, you hear that there’s a new app going around?” June said.

“Ya, there’s a bunch of random ads with something called KitKok. Whatcha think about it? Or, have you not seen it yet?” Alicia said.

“Ya! I’ve seen it! Anyways, it looks like it’ll be interesting.” June said.

“To say the least agreed. Have you been hearing from Luna lately? It’s been a while since I’ve seen her.” Alicia inquired.

“No, I haven’t. She was never really the type to go out of her way to talk to us though, so maybe she’s just on her phone somewhere. Let’s just shoot her a text or ask a teacher. They’d most likely know.” June explained. From here, June and Alicia both send Luna a text and wait for twenty minutes before getting bored.

“Alright, let’s just go ask a teacher. The more I wait, the more impatient I get.” Alicia said.

“Ok, no skin off my back.” Alicia casually said.

Going to a teacher, they get an irritated response, “Oh, Luna. Ya, I took her phone earlier because she was watching during class. She should be in another class right now. Say, why don’t you guys give it back to her? Just make sure it’s at the end of the day. Make sure she knows why I took it.”

“Sounds like a plan, Teach!” exclaimed Alicia.

Walking away, June asked, “Hey, what do you think she was doing on her phone? You think it was important?”

“Nah, probably one of those games that she gets into. Just think, what would you rather do? Play a game you like, or hang out and listen to the math teacher?” Alicia questioned.

“I guess you have a point on that one. It’s like asking if I would rather play games or be bored.” June said, understandingly.

“Nonetheless, I do wonder why she was on her phone to begin with. She knew that we aren’t supposed to have them out in class. Maybe we should go ask her?” Alicia said, partially confused.

“Sure, sounds good. However, let’s wait for school to be done. She can’t get away if we have her phone, right?” June said with a smirk.

With that laugh, the story now cuts to a later time when school is right about to end and they can go to Luna before school ends.

“Heeeeey Luna! We got your phone for you!” blurted Alicia.

With a turn faster than lightning, Luna was upon us grabbing for her phone. “Hey, you guys got my phone?” Luna said, her speech not lining up with her speed.

“Ya, Teach gave it to us and told us to give it to you at the end of the day. She also told us why she took it away from you.” June said, eyes squinting.

“Oh, I uh, I was having a lot of fun playing Cavecreater again…whoops,” Luna said.

“She just said not to let it happen again. Anyways, what’s so special about the game anyways? If you played it during class, then it’s fun, right?” June said.

“YES!” Luna said with unbelievable passion. “It’s a game where you can break blocks, turn them into new things, you can build, you can just in general get better at random aspects, it’s an open world game that is so wide that I can do anything that comes to mind. The better my skills become, the better my ideas and ideals can come through in the game!” Luna continued.

“Wow. Just wow.” Alicia said.

“Maybe I’ll download it and give it a try. Is it free?” June said.

“Ummm, no. You need to pay about four dollars. Good luck.” Luna said. With that, the bell rang and the school day ended. All the way home on the school bus ride, June again thought about how she was going to get Cavecreater. She had asked for money in games before, but those attempts had never been fruitful. She always gets the ‘If you spend money on it, it may be a game that you play for another week before you move on. That’s a waste of money, June.’ She didn’t really want to hear that again, but she was willing to give it a shot if it meant getting a game that seemed to be so exciting. With that thought, she arrived at her home and went inside.

Helloooo! I’m finally home!” June said with a voice that was infused with pure happiness.

“Oh, hey honey!” June heard from another room. “How was school? D’ya learn anything new?” the voice questioned.

“Sure! But, I was wondering if we could go for pizza tonight? I got a craving for it!” June said.

“Ya, why not! I’ll go tell your father.” the voice, now known to have been Mom, said. Thinking to herself, he wondered how she was going to ask them. She would get them excited with pizza! Ya, that was always a good thing to bring anyone’s mood up. With that, she would then ask. She had more than enough money saved up to buy the game, considering it was only a couple of dollars on her phone, and she would just try to show her parents exactly that.

Later, at the pizza restaurant, after their delicious pepperoni pizza from a local pizza place, June started, “So, now that we’ve played our pull the straw, tic tac toe, and would you rather, let’s discuss something, parents.”

With years of experience, the parents’ expressions faded into that of a client’s in a meeting and they opened their ears to listen. “So, Luna has been playing a game recently that she has described to be very fun. I can’t remember all that she said, but she basically said that I can break blocks and build different things with them using my imagination. For a simple four dollars, I can also have that experience. The only thing I require is for one of you two to buy it for me. I will give you back the money, I promise.”

“No,” Dad said simply.

“We’re sorry Honey, but you’re just going to waste your money if you buy any game that looks fun. There’s a lot of scams and shams out there that you haven’t experienced yet, and I’m not looking for you to ever have to deal with one.” Mom said, somewhat apologetically.

With that, their pizza excursion ended and June made it a silent ride home. She knew that she’d have to get over it, her parents always managed to lure her out of it, but she was still indescribably upset. She soon came up with two ideas for a scheme: One, she could go to Luna and/or Alicia’s house and she could ask their parents to buy it for her and pay them back, or…second…she could take their credit card. It’s a way that isn’t very fulfilling, but she still might have to resort to it. When they got home only minutes later, she went to her room to text Luna and Alicia, her parents downstairs wondering what to do.

Two days later. “Hey Mom, can I go to Luna’s house? I already asked Luna and her parents and they said yes.” June questioned.

“Ummm, I don’t know. Your father and I were actually thinking about spending some more time with you for the weekend. We went out for pizza the other night and it made me feel like we should have a full-day adventure or maybe even two days, for the whole weekend.” Mom said, carefully.

“But, I…alright, I guess that sounds like a lot of fun. It’s been a while since I last played mini golf with you guys…” June said, with a hint of disappointment.

“So, what’s the full plan?” June continued.

“Well, I haven’t figured that out entirely yet, so why don’t you call or text Luna the news, okay?” Mom said, sensing her disappointment.

“Ya, alright. I guess I’ll get over it. Can’t wait!” With that thought in her mind, June got a little aggravated. Why couldn’t she go to a friend’s house? Because her parents wanted to be with her, or whatever. So, going back to the desperate thoughts from earlier, she decided that she knew what she had to do. With her parents having all this fun with her, she’ll have all this fun with them, and she’ll get what she wants. With her parents having fun, she’ll take the nearest credit card and use it to buy Cavecreater. She knew it was bad, so she’d slip the money into their wallet and add an extra dollar or two. That would make it so it’s a mutual deal of sorts. With this, she texted Luna and went downstairs to eat a snack.

“Alright, here’s the plan,” Mom said, with a strange hint of authority behind it. “What we’ll be doing today is mini golf, we’ll walk around an outdoor market and stop at a food court for some food of course, then we’ll head to an amusement park. That will take up most of the day, so we’ll have it last and have a blast!” With that rhyme from Mom, she noticed my recoil and smiled at me.

“You like that, don’t you!” We look at each other again and laugh, Dad joining in nearing the end.

“So, let’s head out. Dad and I will go up to our room real quick and change. We’re going to an amusement park called Wally Dear. It has a giant selection for swimming, and it has just as many rides to go on. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll let you spend some money if you want on one of the games!” Dad shot a sharp glance at Mom, but he seemed to have realized something. Nonetheless, after they went upstairs, I snuck with all my stealth to their bathroom and saw my father’s wallet. With anxiety, I realized he was the type that counted his money. However, maybe he’d picked up spare change or something and wouldn’t remember. So, I went forward with it. With my knowledge of the play store, I gained Cavecreater. I slipped the seven dollars from my pocket into his wallet and got out of the bathroom. I was in the clear.

One day later. “Honnney. Can I see your phone?” Dad said with such concentrated anger that I think I really trembled.

“Y-ya Dad, but I think it might be, uh, dead,” I said, my voice trembling. Did he find out? But how? He spent all that money yesterday, he shouldn’t have known!

“June Kilfer, I know for a FACT that you don’t leave that thing uncharged! Get. It. Out.” With this one statement from Dad, I was nearly in tears. Going upstairs to grab my phone, I contemplated deleting the game. In doing so, I could end up losing it. However, I might not get in trouble. In the end, I hid the app in a cluster of random ones. (Meaning I put it in those things where you can group apps by dropping them onto each other.) As to not be suspicious, I hurried as fast as I could to do this, in hopes that he wouldn’t know what to look for. Arriving downstairs, I got a glare that was so intense I almost forgot that he was my father.

Handing him my phone, he simply said, “Password?” So, I said it. He then said, “Do you know why I’m doing this?”

“I, uh, I dunno, because I was bad?” June muttered.

“Yes, you were bad. Glad you know that. Mind telling me what you did that was so bad? Or is that

a secret?” Dad pushed further.

“I-” June tried responding.

Cutting me off, he said, “Oh, there it is. Isn’t this the game that you were talking about when we ate pizza?” He turned the phone around and I saw the app, hidden away in that little group. The shame I felt was like cement dragging me down. Wordless, I sat there and my father went on. “Now, you might not know how I know this, right?” Dad questioned.

Silently, I responded with a mumble of sorts, “Y-you uh, counted, right? The m-money in your…wallet.”

“Nope! Believe it or not, I actually got a Jmail from the app store saying that my purchase was successful and that I could access it through the library. So, I clicked on it, saw the game, and knew that I should ask you if you might know who did this. So, what do you have to say? Or rather, what’re you going to do to make this up?” Dad smoothly but angrily said.

“I’m…I’ll clean the house and do extra chores…?” June said meekly.

“Exactly! As an added bonus, this here in my hand is now going to be mine for however long I want! Your phone is now my phone!” Dad announced.

Suddenly, I had a feeling of throwing up in my mouth. No…phone? What do people do without a phone? With this, I tried reasoning with him. “D-dad! That’s not fair! I paid you back, just check your wallet or mine!”

“I don’t know if I can believe you, but I will. That may have decreased the time that I keep this phone, but I am still keeping it. What you did is theft. You used my money for your own purposes without my permission. Taking my money without permission is stealing. That is very bad. You understand, correct?” Dad explained.

“Yes, Dad.” With that, I was told to go upstairs into my room. While sitting there, I got frustrated. The thought of how my…my entertainment! That’s what was taken away from me! Right now, instead of feeling bad about myself, feeling like I just destroyed my family, I could be on my phone, playing my newly acquired Cavecreater. However, I’m sitting here, looking at a wall, tears in my eyes, it’s all stupid! Is it…Dad’s fault? He was the one that took my phone, and he AND Mom didn’t let me spend a couple of dollars on a game. That must mean that it’s both their fault.

Right at that moment, I heard a knock at my door. “Hey, June. Your father…told me what happened. He said that you took his credit card, correct?” Mom said in a soothing tone that could calm a crying baby present in it. However, that’s not enough to crack my feelings, so I stayed quiet before mumbling a quick, “Ya.”

As if understanding all the things in the world, she opened the door all the way and came in to sit on my bed. She embraced me in a hug and I felt something warm go through from her into me. “Honey, I know you’re in trouble, but you’ll be better…right? I know it might seem like a small deal but stealing is bad.” Our conversation drifted on and on for some minutes, but they felt like an eternity. It made me furious, it made me cry, and yet it still made me giggle and even laugh at points. I heard my Dad approach and didn’t hear him leave for a long time. I heard their conversation later that night, the sounds of my father’s slight sobs echoing into my room. It was then I understood I was wrong.

About a year and a half later, a month after June had turned thirteen. “Luna, it’s been a while since all three of us have been together for a sleepover. Should we ask Alicia to come over to one of our houses, or should we just barge into hers?” June said, a bit deviously.

“Well, I guess you have a pretty good idea. You’re right though. Ever since KitKot came out, she’s been doing that almost nonstop. I’ve seen what she watches and what she does, they’re pretty funny. Although…she seems to get a little different in some of them. Nonetheless, it sounds like that could be a

plan. I’d love to head over to her house and play her games again!” Luna said, a worried look appearing and disappearing from her face.

“Really? That’s what you’re thinking about right now? Let’s go over to her in a bit. We’ll have free time soon to talk to her.” June said. Later, they went and found Alicia.

“June! Luna! Come over here!” With the call from Alicia, it would be hard to not know where she was right then for Luna and June.

“Okay. Alicia, we’ve come up with a plan. This plan is to hang out together. We want to have a sleepover either this Friday or this Saturday. And yes, I said we as in all three of us. It’s been so long!” June said.

“Oh, a sleepover. I don’t know if I could make it. Ya know how KitKot has been released and has been growing over the past year? Well, I’ve been growing with it and now have over sixty thousand followers.” Alicia said.

“If I could chime in, what does that have anything to do with it? Even if you have to make videos, that shouldn’t take all day.” Luna said.

“Well, when putting it that way…I’ll text my mom!” Alicia said excitedly.

“Ali, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. It would just be nice to hang out.” June said.

“Ya, ya, I know. But seriously! I’ve just been a little busy trying to grow my channel, ya’ know? It’s becoming more important to me. I also made friends with some other people on KitKot. They’re, uh, pretty nice! With their help, I can become more and more famous and grow!” Alicia explained.

“Alright, as long as nothing bad is happening. You know that some crazy stuff can happen on the internet. Remember the incident with that one ThemTuber? How he turned out to be a pedophile? Keep an eye for that stuff” June said, cautioning.

“I know, I know! But, I can soon start earning revenue from the site once it gains some more traction. On ThemTube, they have a form of paying its creators when they have enough followers. One day soon, the site may start paying me! They have a system set up for it, but not many are being paid just yet. Something about not getting the right sponsors just yet.” Alicia said.

“Wow, you can earn money? Have you used it to buy games?” Luna said with a glimmer in her eyes.

“Luna, did you not just hear me say that I’m not being paid yet? Also, I don’t play or plan on playing games on KitKot. I could buy them, I guess.” Alicia said.

“I’m joining,” Luna said simply.

“Good luck with that!” Alicia said.

“Okay. When do we want to do this sleepover?” With that question, a plan was made for a sleepover for the three of them on Saturday.

Saturday. The first to arrive at Alicia’s house was Luna. Soon after this, June arrived.

“June!” The two other girls said in unison.

“Hey, guys! It’s been a while! Less than a day sure is a lot of time for us to be apart, right?” June said. Laughing, June entered Alicia’s house and dropped her stuff off in the same place she always does when she comes over to Alicia’s house. After talking about dancing, the subject of KitKot came up.

“Soooooo, Alicia. How did you start on KitKot? How did you grow?” Luna asked.

“Well, I started simply by making a couple of jokes. I looked at old Olympian dancers’ performances and I made jokes that kind of kicked off my channel. Now, I’m dancing for myself, with the occasional joke video on one of my dances. I partnered up with another dance channel, though. We’ve never actually met, but we make jokes on each other’s videos. That’s something big in the internet world: Connections. When you bring two people’s audiences together, it causes some to go over to the other

channel to check out the content and maybe even give that other person a follow. I also have other people that I talk to. Those people, er, give me tips.” Alicia explained.

“Ok, so how could I start? I’d like to get money!” Luna exclaimed.

“Well, do something unique. You have to do something that lures a viewer in and keeps them there. As for you though, it may be smart to make a gaming channel. You could maybe review games, or you could pick out random ones and critique them. However, you’d have to be a bit more vocal when you’re doing it. If you were normal, you’d maybe be a bit…boring…to others.” Alicia said.

“I guess that makes sense. Okay! Let’s make an account RIGHT now!” With this, Luna and Alicia were now both KitKot creators.

“Hey, June. Get over here. Let’s sign you up, too. Then, we can see who gets paid first. I will, of course. That’s a given. I have over sixty thousand followers!” Alicia said.

“O-okay. I guess…” June said hesitantly. With all three of them signed up, life seemed to get a lot more fun and competitive.

One year later.

“Hey, June,” Alicia said.

“Oh, Alicia. Hi. Uh, what’s up?” June said.

“Oh, nothing really. I just wanted a little help with my homework. Though you could maybe work through it with me.” Alicia said.

“Sure. Could’ve said that from the beginning.” June said.

Amidst all the quiet studying, there was an awkward silence and an air of uncomfortably. Due to this, June spoke up, “Hey, I was thinking. It’s been a long time since we’ve hung out, so why don’t we plan a sleepover? Luna and I have had plenty, so why not just have us two?”

“That’s…okay. Sounds like fun..” Alicia trailed off. With that, the silence returned, its hands getting a stronger hold until the bell rang.

“Bye Ali,” June said.

“Ya, bye,” Alicia said.

When the sleepover rolled around, Alicia hyped herself up; she wouldn’t let this get awkward. She had known June for years, there was no point in being uncomfortable. So, with this thought in mind, she rang the doorbell to see June’s mother. Just as it was before, June’s mom was warm and friendly, almost pushing her into the house.

“It’s been so long since we’ve had the pleasure of having you here, Alicia!” Mom said. Hearing her mother’s voice, June came down the stairs to greet Alicia.

“Hey, Ali,” June said.

“Y-ya! Hey June!” Alicia said.

June’s mom shot June a questioning glance and went on, “Okay. For tonight, I have made some cookies and will order pizza when you guys are ready. I bid you adieu!”

“With my mom gone, I want you to tell me why you’re so awkward right now so we can enjoy the rest of the night without it being too tense. Is that okay?” June said.

“O-o-okay. I-I mean yes. That’s fine.” With an intake of breath, Alicia explained, “Ever since you and Luna created that account, it’s been so much harder to talk to either of you. Both of you are so much more…confident? Ya, that kind of sounds right. I get that everyone changes when they inevitably grow up, but you two have changed so much! You started hanging out with other people, you spent less time with me, and you…blew up on KitKot. I know that seems like jealousy since I only have seventy-eight thousand, but it still makes me sad! We used to do a video here and there together and it was so much fun, but we stopped somewhere along the line and it…sucked.” Alicia said.

“Wow. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know you felt that way. I guess we can make a video whenever you want. I don’t mind. As you told me before when I first started, two people working together also combine their separate audiences and can cause some to subscribe to the other. Now that we have that off our backs, let’s go upstairs.” June said.

“Wait, we’re just going to leave it at that? With you just saying that we can work together on a video? I don’t just want that, I want to be your friend, too.” Alicia explained.

“Oh, but did we ever stop being friends?” June inquired.

“You see, this is what I mean. This is how you’ve changed. You used to be so much more gentle! If I were this upset, you’d spend time with me and think-” Alicia tried saying.

“GIRLS! Stop! I have cookies, you have mouths, and this is supposed to be a sleepover between friends. You get that?” Mom burst in. With a feeling of embarrassment and guilt, they took a cookie and went upstairs.

“Hey, um, what do you do for your videos, Ali?” June asked.

“Oh, I still dance. My videos kept getting taken down though, so I had to change the style up.” Alicia responded.

“So,…why did they get taken down?” June asked.

“Oh, they broke the guidelines and were marked as too inappropriate. Turned out that the people I was getting tips from were…not…the greatest.” Alicia said uneasily.

“Do you mean…” June started asking.

“Yes, and please just don’t read any further down into it. It’s a bit touchy.” Alicia said.

“Alright. Then, I’ll tell you what I do. I-” June said.

“June, I know what you do. I’m a fan. You do pranks and weekly reviews on whatever you want.” Alicia said.

“Oookay, guess you do watch my videos,” June said.

“I haven’t seen Luna in any of the videos, what’s up with her?” Alicia asked.

“She’s on a tour. She is going to go to a couple of gaming events and showcases. She’s become a formidable game reviewer, hasn’t she?” June said.

“Dang, maybe. I knew she was getting popular, but that much? Let’s see what she’s got up to at this point, shall we?” Alicia responded. With that, they looked up Luna’s account on KitKot.

“HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!” Alicia shouted.

“What is it, Ali?!” June asked, surprised.

“She…has…ten million followers…” Alicia said, extenuating every word.

“…” June responded, flabbergasted.

After minutes of gawking at each other, their thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the front door opening to Mom calling up that the pizza had arrived. While at the dinner table, Alicia and June talked with still bewildered looks on their faces to Mom while comparing how she’s the biggest kid creator on the platform, and how even June only has two million. They look at each other and laugh out how two million is ‘small.’

During that night, June contemplated posting what Alicia had said to her earlier in the night. She had recorded it all.

Three months later.

“June! Get off your phone!” said a teacher. It’s been three months since June had two million followers. Since then, she has gained a further three million, becoming one of the fastest-growing channels on KitKot. However, she has also become one of the most changed.

“June, give me that phone!” The teacher now demanded.

“Sorry Teach, might need this for a vid!” June said, taunting the teacher.

“I never gave you permission, young lady.” the teacher warned.

“Well, I don’t need it. Free country! As a history teacher, I would have thought you’d known that!” June excitedly said. When the teacher looked around the classroom, he saw his students smiling and decided that enough was enough; he’d call her out a little.

“Maybe I didn’t know that, but if I didn’t you sure wouldn’t. At least, not with your grades.” With a gulp, June sat down with a distorted face.

“Fine. I’ll sit down and listen to this stuff.” June said.

“Sorry June, but I’m still going to need two things, no, three things from you. First, the phone. Second, go to the office. Three, pay attention and stop acting like you’re hiding your phone correctly when you’re on it in class.” The teacher explained.

“Fine, whatever. I’ll do one of those things and go hang out in the office. Seeya!” The history teacher turned around and started the lesson again. Expecting to see the kids still laughing, the teacher turned around to only see kids uncomfortable rather than smiling. Turning back towards the lesson, he was surprised. However, June did not notice this.

“June Kilfer!” Dad yelled, Mom, sitting with a gloomy face on the couch.

“What’s up, Dad? I got some stuff to do in my room.” June still casually said.

“Young lady, you’ve got a lot of nerve talking like that right now.” Dad still kept a stern tone.

Sighing, June said, “Alright, what is it now? You know you can never take away all my phones. I bought extra last time, too. No point in trying to ground me.” June said with exasperation.

“June, have you checked your grades?” Mom asked.

“Nope. Don’t care about them. I plan on dropping school soon anyway. I mean, I literally have enough money to buy twenty phones now whenever I just so happen to ‘lose’ one.”

“June. I…have had…ENOUGH! If you don’t get your act together, you’re out of here!” Dad yelled. Mom looked at Dad with tears in her eyes, then back at me and nodded.

“Honey, we’ve…been talking about this for a while now. Your father and I have decided that either you quit that site, get your grades up, or…move out. We don’t really know what else to tell you. We’ve read books on how to discipline a child, and you’ve only worked around them. We stopped giving you privileges, and you ignored us and did it yourself. The last thing we can do is kick you out and send you to a place that might be able to fix that. While ‘kicking you out’ might be a little exaggerated, we will be sending you to a counselor and therapist if you don’t set yourself straight. This is the last thing we can do for you. You’re…heading down a dark path, June.” Mom said, defeated.

With that, June’s head spiraled and she became confused. Has she really done anything wrong in the past couple of years, or is she just saying that her own mom doesn’t like her? With all of these thoughts in her head, she started crying. She ran up the stairs, to her bedroom, and slammed it shut. She needed to think about all of this.

With texts coming into her phone, she ignored them all. The familiar sounds of her manager, her KitKot friends, her notifications for new videos, she ignored them all. She couldn’t think. The only thing clouding her mind was what was going to happen in her life. She reflected on when it started going down. Was it when she blackmailed Alicia for a couple of weeks with her words? Was it when she started making prank videos, heck, videos at all? She couldn’t figure it out. She looked up at her ceiling, all the old pictures surrounded by plastic stars she had hung years before with her…friends. That’s right. Maybe that’s where she went wrong. She hadn’t actually talked to Alicia since she had released the video on her, and she just hadn’t seen Luna. Luna even took a break from videos, so she had no clue. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door downstairs. She heard the faint sound of her parents greeting the guest, and she heard unfamiliar footsteps coming up the stairs. Assuming it was her the guest was going to, she laid down in her bed and let her body go limp as if she were a doll.

Juuune, can I come in?” With that voice, June’s ear perked up. Had she somehow got her here just from thinking about her?

“Heyyyy, it’s Luna. I wanna come in and talk.” Luna called.

June, still gloomy, let out a grumpy “Suuure.”

“Hey, June. It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? I heard what, er, happened with you and Alicia. She told me. But, that’s not what I’m here for right now. I want you to listen to me. I’ll be completely honest, I’m here because your parents asked me to be here. Do you want to know why I say I’m here for them? It’s because I want to help them with you.” With the accentuated you, June knew what she was in for.

“The way you said that almost sounds like you’re not here to help me make them flowers, but rather help them by making me do something,” June said.

“Well, that second part’s correct. You’ve changed. However, I’ve also changed, I guess. When I look back on it, I did stuff I’m not all too proud of as well. You wanna know what I’ve been like behind the scenes, June?” Luna said.

“Alright, oh powerful one, what have you done that’s sooo bad? Did you bump into someone and not say excuse me or something?” June said.

“Yes. I did that. I also did so much more. Every day on set, I did whatever I felt like doing, only being nice when I was being seen by people. I made over two dozen people quit their jobs, and I fired more for whatever reasons I could think of.” Luna said.

“Then what made you stop? Obviously, you’re trying to relate to me or whatever, but what made you stop? Did you get caught? Did someone record you and post it? What happened?” June asked.

“Well, I got help. I went to a member of the team I was playing on, or rather they came to me I guess, and they set me straight. They told me that it was about time I got kicked from the team for all I did and that even though I might be the best, I needed to go. Little by little after that, they brought me back and now I’m on a break. I needed more time to think, and now I understand what I need to do. Now that I know, I wanted to do for you what was done for me.” Lune explained.

With a pained laugh, June said, “Well, I can’t do that. You see, I don’t have anyone anymore, do I? No, seriously? Who cares about me? My parents think of me as a disappointment, the teachers hate me and my grades suck, Alicia hates me, and even you. You said when you came in here that you’re not here for me. You said you’re here for my parents. So you know what? I have no one. My fans know me, but what would they think of me? They’d say: ‘Oh, did you see how that KitKoter just got exposed?’ or something like that. So, you know what? Tell me. How are you going to pull out a trump card and help me?” June demanded.

“Are you done? While I did say that I was here for your parents, I never said that I didn’t want to help you. I grew up with you, why would I not want to help you? As for Alicia, she’s hurt. She’s been hit by something that’s always going to be with her. So, it’s now your job to help her. I want you to do one thing: Help her. You have to work on yourself, yes, but the first step to getting better is to first help those you’ve hurt. Can you really keep going in life with the thought of how you hurt someone so bad that they can’t trust anyone anymore? Ya, that’s what you did to her. She’s deleted her entire channel and every video to get rid of herself from the internet. Have you ever noticed that she’s homeschooled?” Luna calmly explained.

“…Sh-she’s…homeschooled…now?” June said with a now anxious tone.

“Yes,” Luna said simply.

Taking a deep breath, June leaned forward and hugged Luna. Before she knew it, tears were streaming down her face. They were like waterfalls rushing down. “It’s here,” June said, “that I make myself a better person.”