Ernie waited a few seconds, then slammed his hands on the counter. “Spill it! Quick, before someone else interrupts us!”
I grabbed the disinfectant spray and wiped Ernie’s handprints off my counter. “Okay, so get this. After lunch, I bumped into Jace in the hallway. Our notebooks accidentally got switched. And in the process he actually gave me a compliment. It was really weird!”
Ernie pushed his glasses up, then hitched his hip onto the counter and leaned toward me. He was about four inches taller than me at five-foot-nine, heavier set around his middle section. And right now, his light brown eyes were securely fastened on me as if he were hanging on my every word. “Okay, so you switched notebooks; how did that turn into people thinking you’re the author of KOS?”
“He had my physics lab notebook and I got his, um, writing notebook.”
“Wait, so Jace Rovers is actually WriteEmHard?”
I nodded. “You should have seen my face when I opened it during lab. He had like half of it filled with his Kingdom of Swords story. There was a map in the front and everything.”
Ernie hung on my every word.
“He’s like ridiculously popular on Scribbles. Like, famous.” I shook my head. “His book has millions of reads.”
Ernie squinted. “Why are people saying that you’re WriteEmHard if Jace is?”
I told Ernie the story of how I’d claimed the notebook was mine in order to save Jace’s cute ass.
Wait, cute? I did not just say Jace has a cute ass…
Okay, he totally did, but I did not want to notice that cute ass.
Ernie leaned forward and gave me a sly grin. “You’ve always had a crush on him.”
“No, that’s not why—”
“I call BS!” He pointed at me. “Summer camp. Third grade.”
“Shut up.” I reached over the counter and pushed his shoulder.
Ernie clasped his hands to his chest, the side his heart was on, and batted his eyelashes. “MS plus JR was all over your camp diary.”
He wasn’t wrong. But I’d never said anything. Jace had never known. It was clear, even at that age, I would never run in the same crowd as him. And then summer before sixth grade happened…
“Whatever.” I shook the memories out of my head. That was then. This was now. And I lived in reality.
“Wow, McKenna. Seriously, wow.” Ernie leaned against the counter and smoothed out his Hawaiian shirt. “So now that this is out in the open, what are you going to do? Because your perfectly honed role of Miss Invisibility is vapor. You realize that, right?”
My stomach dropped.
“You’re like a celebrity now.” Ernie eased off the counter and faced me full-on, then made an arc with his hands. “I can see the headlines for the school newspaper now, Famous Author Graces the Halls of Twin River High.”
“No way. People will forget all about it by tomorrow.” Won’t they? I waved him off and started sanitizing the counter where he’d been sitting.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” Ernie dug his phone out of his pocket and held it up.
I gasped when my picture popped up on the screen.
WriteEmHardFanAccount: We have HUGE news! It was revealed a short time ago that McKenna Storm is the author behind Kingdom of Swords! According to several classmates, she’s a senior at Twin River High in Twin River, Wisconsin. Stay tuned for more info on our favorite author! We will update soon!
I gulped. “Son of a hot dog.”