KAITLIN STARLIGHT’S DESTINY ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.’ This is one quite interesting phrase.

Normally, people use the phrase to describe a very beautiful, young lady especially the one who has the most glimmering eyes in the whole entire universe. Well, in our case, that phrase is a good start for the story. A ponytail-haired girl was racing from the stairs to the end of the hallway while carrying loads of posters. “Kaitlin, there you are! The posters are ready. Where should I put them?” she asked, panting. “Well, just put them in the art class. I’ll pick them up later.” Then, a braided-haired girl with a pair of large glasses popped out from nowhere and said, “Kaitlin, the national science fair will be held next week and the science club is way behind schedule here. I was just wondering that maybe you could give us a hand after school today?” Kaitlin turned her sight to the girl and answered, “Sorry, Stella! I got cheerleader practice today. How about tomorrow?” “Well, great! Thanks, Kaitlin! Meet you at the lab later.” Her cell phone suddenly rang. She quickly flipped it open. “Hey Lily, I was about to...” “Kaitlin, where on earth are you? Everyone’s waiting for you for like ages. Come to the gym now!” Kaitlin sighed and said, “I’m on my way. I was just picking up my pom-pom from my class. Chill out will you?” She hung up the phone and picked up her pace towards the gym. Kaitlin Starlight was your average school girl...Not!!! Okay. Kaitlin Starlight was the Barrymore High School’s goddess. It was her senior year there and she got the whole school in her hand. Well, thanks to her beautiful violet eyes and her flexible body, she was chosen to be the head cheerleader for two years in a row. The thing was that she broke the head cheerleaders’ rule of not having a nut head and an empty-shelled brain. That’s right. She was also the brain of the school. Last year, she was able to create the coolest routine of the year for the cheerleaders’ team. On the same day, she successfully created a mini airplane prototype with a make-up case, so she could ‘teleport’ them to her from home to anywhere at anytime. Plus, she was also running for the class president and the upcoming ‘Homecoming Queen’ title. Talk about life! Anyway, how about we stop talking about her? Let’s get back to the story. “About time you got here.” Lily said with her right hand on her hip. Kaitlin sighed and said, “Sorry, everyone! I had to meet up with the principal to tell her about our next competition. Anyway, shall we get started?” They all smiled and started gathering in the middle of the gym. Their short skirts swayed from left to right as they performed their routine. Then, they started forming the human pyramid where they began with three people at the bottom and two people standing on their shoulders. Two other cheerleaders knelt about five feet away from the pyramid while holding each others’ hands. Lily was one of the cheerleaders. Kaitlin was getting ready from far away. She was waiting for Lily to give her a signal. After everyone got ready in their position, Lily nodded towards Kaitlin. In a split second, she began to leap towards the pyramid. Lily and her partner gave her a boost and she jumped right on top of the pyramid.

Once she has landed, she raised both of her arms and all of the cheerleaders started their cheers. Right after Lily said the last word, Kaitlin jumped and performed a loop-de-loop and landed with both of her feet on the ground and her hands were high up in the air; followed by the other cheerleaders who were also part of the human pyramid. “And that’s a rap. Great work, girls!” Kaitlin said as she waved her pom-pom, signalling that she’s going to leave the gym. Everyone followed her steps and left the gym as well. “Another great job on the pyramid to you again, Miss Starlight,” Lily said as both of them walked home. “Stop it with that ‘Miss’ stuff. You sounded like Sherleen, you know. About the pyramid thing, I hope everything would go well on our big day. Anyway, I need your help tomorrow to put up the Homecoming Dance’s posters,” Kaitlin said to her best friend. “Sure. I’m free before lunch,” replied Lily. Kaitlin smiled and said, “Alright then. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye!” They waved to each other as Kaitlin entered her home. Seriously, when I said her ‘home’, I meant the place almost belonged to her. Her parents only stayed there twice a week since they were too busy with their works. Not only that, her ordinary ‘home’ also meant everyone else’s ‘dream home’. What? You want to know about the details? Well, it’s not actually a house. It’s more like a mansion completes with its own swimming pool, tennis court, a horse stable and don’t forget about the four-acre backyard. You could have your own school there. And that’s what you could see from the outside. Trust me on this. You don’t want to know the details on what’s the inside looked like. Even two-whole pages wouldn’t feel in the detail. Anyway, Kaitlin entered her ‘house’ and greeted all the staffs, as usual. She was dog tired after her busy daily schedule. “Miss Starlight, do you want me to get your hot bath ready now?” Sherleen, her personal maid asked her politely. She nodded her head and said, “Yes, please Sherleen! By the way, has mom and dad called yet?” Sherleen looked at Kaitlin with disappointment and shook her head. She sighed heavily and rubbed her forehead, “Oh well, it’s been a week already. Maybe they’ll ring tomorrow.” She smiled weakly at Sherleen and struggled herself to climb up the grand staircase. As she was half way up the stairs, she felt as if the world was spinning. She tried to balance herself. All of a sudden, all she could see was black and she could have sworn that she saw thousands of stars right above her head. She fell down to her knees and rolled down the stairs. She barely heard the faded screams around her. “Oh my God! Miss Starlight!” Sherleen shouted as she saw Kaitlin fell down the stairs. The other staffs looked at her in fright and quickly gathered around her. “Someone please take her upstairs!” begged Sherleen. There was a panic tone in her voice. Then, Mark walked through the crowd and said, “Let me carry her to her room.” He held out his arm and placed his right arm below Kaitlin’s knees and his left arm behind her neck. He carried her all the way to her room and laid her on her bed. Her face was pale. Sherleen rushed into the room with a bowl of water in her hands. Mark stepped aside while Sherleen treated the young mistress of the house. Sherleen took out a towel from the bowl, dried out the excess water and place the towel on Kaitlin’s forehead. She looked at Mark and said, “Mark dear, could you please called

Dr. Alex over? Thank you for all your help.” Mark nodded and said, “Anything for Miss Starlight. Please excuse me.” About half an hour later, a nicely-suited man with a briefcase entered Kaitlin’s room. Sherleen greeted him warmly, “Good evening, Dr. Alex. I’m sorry to call you so late this evening but it was kind of an emergency. She suddenly collapsed while climbing up the stairs.” The doctor just gave her a friendly smile and said, “It’s not that late yet. Anyway, her parents trusted her health to me. I can’t just ignore the request. Besides, she’s a bright girl.” He took out his stethoscope and started checking up on her breathing and heartbeat rates. Then, he took out a thermometer to check up her temperature. All Sherleen could do was to watch patiently. She really did want to prepare some tea for Dr. Alex but she knew he would refuse the offer since he only dropped by to do his duty. After a few moments, the doctor packed his things and took out a bottle of capsules. “Maam, I suggest that you should bring her to the hospital. In the meantime, please give this to her every six hours.” He was referring to the bottle in his hand. “Wait! Is it something serious? What’s wrong with her?” Dr. Alex just shook his head and said, “I hope I can tell you more. Perhaps she will get a more accurate check-up and treatments there. Just don’t let her wear herself out in the meantime. Then, everything will be all right.” Dr. Alex picked up his briefcase and left the room. Sherleen just stared at Kaitlin. She was aware of Mark’s presence behind her. She said with a sorrow voice, “Call her parents immediately.” She didn’t even face him and by that, he knew that that’ll be his priority job; as though it’ll be his last. She opened her eyes slowly and saw Sherleen wiping up her right hand with a wet towel. Sherleen looked at her and her eyes brightened. “Miss Starlight, I’m so glad you’re awake. Everyone was so worried about you.” Kaitlin just stared at Sherleen and asked, “Sherleen...what happened?” Sherleen put on her warm smile again and said, “You collapsed while climbing up the stairs just now. So, we rang Dr. Alex and he said you just need some rest.” Kaitlin stared at Sherleen some more and pulled her right hand away from Sherleen. “Don’t worry about me, Sherleen. The doctor is right. I just need some rest. By the way, about my hot bath...” Sherleen grinned and quickly replied, “Everything’s ready, Miss Starlight.” “As you all know, the mid-term exam is around the corner. So, I want you to make a presentation on the history of any local cuisine of your choice from around the world. You can choose either from Asia, Africa or even America. I’ve already partnered you up. Remember, McDonalds is not in the list of local cuisine. You can see whom you’re partnering with on the info board.” The whole class started whispering. Well, the extra credit history project couldn’t get any better than doing some research on food. The students were also curious about whom they’re partnering with, especially Kaitlin since Mrs. Collins were never good in grouping her students. After the class had ended, everyone quickly rushed to the info board and started searching for their names except Kaitlin. Her head was still a little nit spinning from last night fall. She even skipped P.E. which would be her first time doing so. Everyone giggled after they found out who their partners will be. I guess they’re satisfied, she thought. Lily walked towards her and said, “I guess we won’t be partners this time, again. I’m with Sarah. What about you?” Kaitlin got up to her

feet and said as she headed to the board, “Who knows? Let me go have a look.” Lily tagged along with Kaitlin. Kaitlin pointed her finger towards the top of the paper that was stapled on the info board and started browsing through for her name. “Kaitlin Starlight...Kaitlin Starlight... Kaitlin Starlight...here it is. My partner will be...Mark Sanford.” Lily raised her right eyebrow and asked, “Who’s Mark Sanford?” Kaitlin shrugged her shoulders and said, “Beats me. There’s Sarah. Maybe we should ask her.” “Mark Sanford? He’s the hunk with a Japanese-boy look. I can’t believe you don’t know him. Let me see...There he is!” Sarah pointed to a guy who was sitting in the middle of a crowd of boys. Kaitlin quickly paced towards the crowd. She could hear one of the boys said, “Man, your partner is Starlight? That’s a good luck you got there.” The other boy said, “You better go for it, Mark. Make sure you’ll bring her to the homecoming.” There were too many people around; she could not find her way through. Finally, she just said, “Excuse me.” All eyes were on her now but that was actually a normal thing for her since she was so popular. She just smiled and said, “Don’t bother about me. I just want to talk with Mark Sanford.” Suddenly, all the boys took a step back and let her through. Then, she saw the guy Sarah was referring to; sitting with his eyes wide open. “So then, you must be Mark Sanford. Hi. I’m...” “Miss Starlight! It is my honour to become your partner in this extra credit project.” He interrupted before Kaitlin even had a chance to finish her sentence. Everyone in the class burst into hysterical laugh. Kaitlin giggled and said, “You don’t need to be so formal. It reminds me of my maids. Just call me Kaitlin.” His face was red when he finally came back down to earth. After that, everyone packed their stuff and went home. “Seriously, he did remind me of Sherleen and the others you know. But still, he was vey happy and excited and nervous. They were obvious since they can be seen clearly from the look of his eyes. Hey, I have to go. My dinner is waiting. I’ll call you later. Bye.” Kaitlin hang up the phone and looked at her bedroom door. Three...two...one..; she counted in her heart. Then, the door opened and Sherleen peeked in, “Miss Starlight, your dinner is ready.” As she entered the dining room, her dinner was already on the table while Chef Leonard stood next to her chair. She took her seat and smelled the delicious meal before her. “Yum, I see the black pepper steak with a sprinkle of Mozzarella cheese and some ratatouille to go with it. Well cooked here, Lenny.” Kaitlin said with a huge smile on her face. She took her knife and fork and began cutting the steak into chew-sized. She ate it happily as if it was the best meal she had ever tasted. Meanwhile, Chef Leonard went back into the kitchen to prepare the dessert that Kaitlin had requested which a slice banana cake topped with melted chocolate. Suddenly, one of the maids came in with dirty dishes. She said, “Miss Starlight’s requesting for her dessert now.” Chef Leonard quickly handed over the dessert to one of the butlers, “Boy, take this to Miss Starlight will you?” The ‘boy’ was quite surprised and immediately refused to do the job. “What’re you talking about??? You have to work to be in this house, you know. Now, go on.” He forced the ‘boy’ to take the dessert and pushed him out the kitchen, into the dining room.

The ‘boy’ tried his best to hide his face from Kaitlin while walking towards her with the dessert balanced on his right hand. “He...he...here’s your dessert, Miss Starlight.” He put the plate before her and took a step back. She replied oddly, “Err...thank you. By the way, why are you trying to hide your face? Is something wrong?” He quickly shook his head and tried to escape but Sherleen held onto his left arm. Kaitlin asked worriedly, “What’s wrong? Are you scared of me or something? Come on. Show your face. Look at me in the eyes.” Oh my God, she got me; he thought. Once he felt that Sherleen’s grip was getting tighter, he slowly revealed his face to Kaitlin. “I’m sorry for his behaviour, Miss Starlight. This is my brother...” “Mark Sanford??! Wait; did you just say he’s your brother, Sherleen?” Sherleen nodded and said, “Yes and he told me that he’s your classmate as well.” During recess the next day, Kaitlin skipped her meal and told her friends that she got to do something in the class. The only thing that she sis was thinking about the incident that happened to her last night. Mark Sanford was one of her butlers? He was also her classmate that she never notice and turned out to be her partner now? Awkward. While trying to set everything correctly in her mind, Mark entered the classroom. They were both surprised. He paced towards her seat and said, “I’m sorry, Miss Starlight.” She rolled her eyes and said, “Don’t call me that. You sounded just like my butlers.” He looked down and said, “Well, I am one of them, right?” Kaitlin placed both of her delicate hands on her desk and stood up. “At home, you are. But we’re at school right now. Just call me Kaitlin.” She smiled sweetly at him. He blushed and his face was turning red. Just before they could continue their conversation, the bell rang and the other students rushed into the class. All the cheerleaders had their last practise right after school. Once again, Kaitlin was the last one to arrive. As she walked nearer to the gym, she saw Mark was leaning the wall with his arms folded. She went to him and asked, “What’re you doing, Mark?” He turned his gaze towards Kaitlin and answered, “Well, my sis told me to escort you home. I also wanted to ask you about the extra credit.” Kaitlin gave it a thought for awhile, then answered, “Sorry, Mark; but I had the last practise today. You know that the competition is tomorrow, right? Anyway, how about you go home first? We’ll discuss about the extra credit later, okay? I really need to go now. See you later.” She dashed away from him and into the gym before he could even say anything. He closed his eyes and sighed. He stared at the gym for awhile before he made his way home. “Thank you for the dinner, everyone.” Kaitlin said as she got up from her chair. Chef Leonard smiled brightly and said, “It’s our pleasure to please you, Miss Starlight.” Before she climbed up the stairs, Sherleen called for her, “Miss Starlight, I got a message from your parents while you were at school today. They apologised for not keeping in touch with last week. Your father got the measles and he just got better yesterday. They also apologised if they could not make it to your competition tomorrow but they already told me to send someone to record your cheers. That’s all.” Kaitlin was shocked to hear the news but she was glad that her parents were all better now. She looked away for a second, and then she gave her attention back to Sherleen. “Thank you, Sherleen. One more thing, is Mark around? If he is, can you tell him to meet me in my study room now? I’ll be waiting for him there.” Sherleen nodded and quickly made her way to look for Mark.

Knock. Knock. “Come in, please. Oh, hi Mark. Please, have a seat right over here,” said Kaitlin while gesturing her left hand to a seat in front of her. Mark entered the grand study room humbly. He never came into the room before; plus to be alone with Kaitlin, that made him even more never nervous. “Can I get you anything, Miss Starlight?” he asked nervously. “What’re you talking about? Stop it with the ‘miss’ thing and get over here.” Mark stared at her blankly and said, “I thought we should all addressed you with the word ‘miss’ and besides, this is not school. I obviously can’t call you Kaitlin.” Kaitlin sighed and explained, “Sure you can. Just for your info, Mr. Sanford, that for me, this room is my school. The rule is ‘no formal addressing in this room’ because for me, you’re no longer one of my butlers in this room. Instead, you’re my friend.” Mark smiled and took a seat opposite to hers. Kaitlin continued, “Now that we understand each other, why don’t we begin? Oh yeah, before that, I just want to let you know that you can use this room anytime you want, okay? Even without my permission,” she turned on her Vaio laptop and started web-surfing. After an hour non-stop working, Mark insisted Kaitlin to go to bed, “Come on. You have you big day tomorrow, so you got to have your beauty sleep.” Kaitlin gave up and got up to her feet. “Okay, then. Good night, Mark.” She walked to the door and opened it. Just before she stepped out of the room, Mark said, “Hey, good luck for tomorrow. I’ll be cheering for you.” She smiled and thanked him before she closed the door and went to her slumber. Alone in the study room, though he did not realise it, but he was smiling with no reason at all. The next day, the stadium, which was located in the mid-town, was packed with people. Fifteen squads would be participating in the Annual Silky Girl Cheerleaders Competition on that day. After about half a day, there were only three squads left that would participate in the finals. They were the East High Wildcats, the Jordon High Eagles and last but definitely no the least, Barrymore High Dragons. First up was the East High Wildcats. The cheerleaders were all skinny and white and they looked gorgeous in their red and white outfits. The crowd went wild as they were performing their routine. Next squad up was the Jordon High Eagles. The girls were wearing brown and beige outfit, though it wasn’t a perfect colour combination but they still looked fantastic. Their routine was also great and they almost perfect scores from the judges. “Okay girls, this is the moment of truth; the moment that we’ve been waiting for. We have to prove to them that we can hold the title that we’re fighting for; the Silky Girl Cheerleading Squad of the year!” They were high-spirited and ready to perform. All of a sudden when everyone was scurrying to get their pom-poms, Kaitlin coughed really hard. The concern Lily asked her, “Kate, are you okay?” Kaitlin just smiled and said, “I’m fine. Maybe I’m just overwhelmed.” She secretly opened her right grip behind her friends and she saw some blood on her palms. “No, not now.” She wiped it off with her handkerchief and followed her friends out of the room. The Barrymore High’s cheerleaders were awesome. They did not make any single mistakes in their steps. By the time they performed the human pyramid, Kaitlin was nervous. Hundreds pair of eyes were on hers. She looked around and saw Sherleen cheering for her while Mark was sitting beside his sister with a video camera in his hand. Her spirit rose up again. She quickly made her move and succeeded to complete the human pyramid; and made her finest loop-de-loop jump.

“And now, the moment that we all have been waiting for, the champion of the Annual Silky Girl Cheerleaders Competition is...the Barrymore High Phoenix!” The crowd went wild. The girls were high up in the air while Kaitlin went to get their gold trophy. Afterwards, they celebrated their winning at the Johnnys’ restaurant. They were over-the-moon. After three hours of celebration, Sherleen and Mark walked Kaitlin back home. While they were chatting about the competition, Kaitlin coughed up more blood. Sherleen was really shocked, “Oh my God, Miss Starlight, are you okay?” This time, it wasn’t just blood. Kaitlin struggled to stay conscious but after a few seconds, she fainted. Kaitlin opened her eyes slowly. Her right hand felt warm. When she looked to her right, she could see her mom was gripping her hands tightly onto hers while her dad was patting her mom on the back, saying that everything’s going to be alright. “Mom?” Although she only called her mom, but everyone in the room started facing her. “Kaitlin, thank goodness you’re alright! I’m so worried. We quickly came back right after we heard the news that you were hospitalized after you won the competition,” said Kaitlin’s mom. The, everything started to come back to her; the competition, the cough, the blood...everything. She knew that she was suffering some kind of illness, so she brought herself to ask her mom. “Mom, what’s wrong with me? Am I sick or something? Please be honest with me.” Her mom looked helpless. She could not control herself. Tears were starting to flow down her cheek. Seeing her like that, Kaitlin’s dad gathered up all of his strength and said, “Honey, the doctor told us that you have the brain cancer.” As much as he tried to be strong, he realised that he was collecting water in his eyes. Kaitlin was shocked. She did not expect this at all. “Not only that, honey,” her dad sniffed and continued, “there was also something wrong with your heart but they could not figure out what.” Her mind was blank. Her brain and her heart were ill. Suddenly, without her own will, she asked, “Dad, how much?” Her dad asked her confusedly, “How much what, Kate?” she continued her question, “How much time do I have left, Dad?” He did not answer. Neither did Mom. She turned her gaze towards Sherleen, who was standing on her left. Sherleen looked at her employers, seeking for their permissions. They closed their eyes and slightly nodded. Finally, she answered, “A month, Miss Starlight.” Kaitlin closed her eyes, tearing endless drops of water that she had been holding back since she woke up. “Kaitlin, you’re back! I heard you had a high fever. I was so worried. Maybe because of all the excitement after the competition. Anyway, I missed you so damn much.” Lily greeted Kaitlin after she was absent for a couple of days. “I’m fine, so don’t worry, okay?” Kaitlin forced a smile on her face. Then, Lily put her right arm over her best friend’s shoulder and said, “Right now, the only thing that is standing between you and the ‘Homecoming Queen’ title is a two-week time.” Kaitlin listened to her joyous friend happily; the smile on Lily’s face did cheer her up. She had decided not tell anyone about her diseases. After dinner that night, Mark went into the study room to do the extra-credit assignment. He would not mind not to ask Kaitlin to join him since he knew she had hard time thinking about her diseases. All of a sudden, he heard a sob. He searched through each shelves of books in the room to find out where that sound came from. He was stunted to see Kaitlin was crying on the floor while hugging her knees tightly. He approached her silently and stood beside her.

Once she realised the presence of some else in the room, she looked up and saw his concerned face. “Are you okay?” he asked silently. She just shook her head. Then, he sat next to her and put his arms around her. She was surprised by his action until she heard he said, “If you want to cry, just cry. Don’t hold it back any longer. It will just make you suffer even more. I saw you fighting a smile on your face the whole day at school. There’s no one around here, so feel free to cry it out.” She could no longer hold back her tears. She cried out so loud, she could even hear her cry echoed throughout the room. She leaned her head over his shoulder. The only thing that he could do right now was comforting her. About an hour later, she felt asleep. He carried her on his back and exited from the study room. Once he stepped outside, Sherleen was standing in the hallway with Mr. and Mrs. Starlight. Kaitlin’s mom asked worriedly, “How is she?” Mark looked at Kaitlin and answered, “She’s alright now. I guess that cry really wore her out.” All of tem escorted Mark to Kaitlin’s room and he placed her gently on her bed, not trying to wake her up. While Kaitlin’s mom sat beside her bed, the others had a talk outside. Dad said, “Your name’s Mark, right? I just have one request. Please take care of Kaitlin for me. I know I hadn’t been a good father, but please look after her especially at school. Don’t let her mind wonder even for a while.” Mark looked at him and said, “I’ll do my best, sir.” Sherleen smiled at her brother and from her eyes, he knew that even she was begging to him to take care of Kaitlin. At school, no one noticed any changes in Kaitlin. She looked pretty normal to them. It was not a surprise actually since she was good in acting as well. She acted as if nothing had ever happened but still, Mark kept his eyes on her and he saw everything; the sadness, the suffering and all the emotions that she hid from others. During recess, both of them spent their time in the library to do their assignment. They only got two days left before the presentation. They made a great team actually. They actually finished up everything a day earlier than they expected. That was not all; just wait till I tell you about their presentation. It was awesome! They got everyone’s attention. The food that they prepared themselves were also vey tasty and mouth-watering. They presented their assignment on a traditional cuisine from Asia called ‘Kuih Koci’. Well, they actually got some useful advices to improve the sweet taste of the cuisine from Chef Leonard, who Kaitlin preferred to call Lenny. While everyone was busy tasting each others’ delicacies, Kaitlin looked at Mark and said, “Thank you for being my partner, Mark. You were great.” Mark smiled and replied, “The same goes to you to, Miss Star...I mean, Kaitlin.” She giggled and both of them joined the rest of the class. It was Friday night and the stars were twinkling brightly. Kaitlin sat by the hill in her house compound where it had been her favourite spot for star-gazing. Suddenly, Mark startled her from behind. She said, “Mark, you gave me a fright. Stop doing that!” Mark looked at her confusedly and replied, “Doing what?” She rolled her eyes and said, “Surprising me, duh.” He gave a cheeky smile and said, “Sorry about that, Miss Starlight. Anyway, may I join you?” Kaitlin nodded and patted on the grass next to her, gesturing that he should sit there. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?” Mark said as he looked up to the sky and saw million of shining stars. “Yup. I’m still waiting for the shooting star, though. The crescent moon is not bad as well.” Tears started to collect in Kaitlin’s eyes out of the blue. Once Mark noticed it, he asked, “What’s wrong, Miss Starlight? Do you feel okay?” By then, she realised

that once again, she was holding back her tears. She answered quickly, “Yes, I’m fine. These tears just wouldn’t stop coming out, right? I was just thinking that every girl at school wanted to be Kaitlin Starlight; and they never stop wishing that. I don’t want to sound snobbish or anything but I got to say that I am perfect in their eyes. People told me that I’m beautiful, my eyes are gorgeous, I got to be the head cheerleader and yet, I got an IQ of 180; I can connect myself with most of the teachers and student bodies; my parents are filthy rich; I got a mansion for a house; plus, a ten-star restaurant chef cooked my daily meals. Can you please give me a name of a girl who doesn’t want to be Kaitlin Starlight?” Mark was thinking hard at first before he finally answered, “Let me guess...you?” Kaitlin turned back her sight towards the stars and said, “If only I could wish I was somebody else. I got a chance to have everything that all the girls in my school wished to have, but I also got the only thing that any human in the whole entire universe wished that they would never want to have.” This time, she did not hold back anymore. She let the tears fell down her cheeks and down to her neck. There was a silent moment after that. Finally after a few minutes, Mark broke the silence and asked, “Miss Starlight, do you want to go out this Saturday?” She was quite surprised to hear that question. She asked, “Go out? Where?” Mark looked at her and wiped away her tears, “Anywhere. You should give yourself a time out, you know. Why don’t you let me take you some places that you never have gone before? We’ll ride the train, walked around the park, the beach, the mall and other places.” She stared at him blankly at first, thinking hard of a way to answer him. After she saw the determination and sincerity in his eyes, she blinked away the last drop of tear in her eyes and smiled, “Sure. This could be fun.” Mark was waiting for Kaitlin outside the gate of her ‘house’. About ten minutes later a figure showed up. It was her and she never looked this fantastic. She wore a simple short-sleeved azure blouse which paired up with her dark blue skirt that lengthened until just below her knees. “Sorry I’m late. Am I overdressed?” Mark smiled and said, “No, you looked amazing! Ready yet?” Kaitlin just nodded and smiled. Mark got unto his bike, followed by Kaitlin and off they went on their one-day adventure. Kaitlin had no idea where Mark was taking her. About twenty minutes later, he slowed down his bike and parked it at a corner in the parking lot. “We’re here, Kaitlin at our first destination, the South Lake Park.” Kaitlin got off the bike and saw a very scenic view of a park surrounding a beautiful lake. The wind brushed her face, blowing through each strands of her hair and making her feel relaxed and welcomed. “This is wonderful, Mark!” she said. Mark replied, “You haven’t seen anything yet. Follow me.” Mark was leading her to a park that looked more like an enchanted forest. The morning glory was blooming and the nightingales were singing their favourite tune. The young man took the princess to the lake and she saw a few swans danced gracefully around the lake. Kaitlin was speechless. Mark knew that she didn’t have to say anything to express her feelings; she already showed them in her violet eyes. They walked around some more for about one and a half hour and talked about a lot of things. Then, they continued their chat on the bench under a shady tree.

“Hey, it’s around one o’clock. Want to grab a bite somewhere?” Mark asked right after he looked at his watch. Kaitlin looked at him cheerfully and said, “Surprise me.” His mouth was carved into a smile. He took her hand and they went back to his bike. They rid for about ten minutes before they arrived at the train station. Once they got off the bike, Mark went to the ticket counter to purchase their tickets while Kaitlin waited for him by the gate. Five minutes went by and as soon as Mark returned, he handed Kaitlin her ticket for the train. The train was on time and when they stepped inside, there weren’t as many people as Kaitlin had imagined, still all the seats were already taken. Mark told her that the train would make another three stations before they arrived at their destination. It was the first time she ever had a train ride, so she got pretty excited when she felt how fast the train was moving. She looked like a nine-year-old little girl on her first field trip. Mark really pleased to see her acting like that. The train started slowing down until it finally came to a complete stop. Mark was alert of what would happen next. He pulled Kaitlin away from the door. Kaitlin was stunted by his action. She was about to ask him what was going on when suddenly the door opened. A crowd of people entered the train. Mark pulled her body closer to him, leaning her against the wall. He said, “Hold on, Kaitlin. It’s their lunch hour, so people are rushing to the next stop because tons of restaurants are located there.” It was crowded in the train; she could barely breathe. Despite the heat, she felt very safe and secured. Mark was so close to her, she could hear his heartbeat; and it was very fast. She could even hear his breath just above her head. Somewhere in her mind, she wished that the time would just stop that moment. After the crowd exited at the next stop, both mark and Kaitlin tried to catch their breath. They looked at each other and blushed. Then, Kaitlin got her attention back outside. They arrived at their destination after five minutes travelled from the last station. They arrived at The Mall, a place that Kaitlin had been dying to go. They walked around the shopping complex before they arrived at the food court. Mark said, “I was thinking of bringing you to the restaurants at first, but since you never come to this kind of place, this can be your first shot.” Kaitlin had a trouble of choosing a meal for awhile until she decided to buy some mushroom soup and a glass of orange juice. Mark stared at her when she tasted the soup. “How is it?” he asked curiously. She smiled and said, “Good enough for me.” They both enjoyed their lunch together. Afterwards, they took another walk around The Mall before they headed back to their original station. “Before we went back home, there’s a place I want you go,” Mark told Kaitlin right after they reached his bike. Kaitlin didn’t say much; she just nodded to his decision. About half an hour later, they arrived at the beach. “It’s about time now,” he said. She was confused, “Time for what?” He pointed his finger towards the sea. She turned her sight at the direction and her breath was taken away. The sunset was nothing like she had seen before. It was definitely something that she would give her life to. It was very scenic and beautiful. Everything was just orange and red. While she was enjoying the scenery, Mark held her hand and said, “Time to go home.” After a long day, she finally arrived home. When she was about to enter the house, she called for Mark. “Mark, thank you for going out with me today. It was the

best day of my life.” Mark smiled and went to the garage to park his bike. When Kaitlin was about to go up the stairs, Sherleen called for her and asked, “How’s your day, Miss Starlight?” Kaitlin smiled and said, “I’ll never ever forget this day for the rest of my life.” The next two weeks, Kaitlin had a very hard time trying to keep awake. She kept fainted every time she felt tired. She also had been hospitalized from time to time. Not only that, there were also a lot of guys asked her to become their date for the homecoming dance but she turned down all of the offers. She became even more ill as the fortnight passed by. Two nights before the homecoming dance, Kaitlin lied in her bed, not feeling very well. Sherleen was right next to her, trying to feed her some porridge. She coaxed, “Miss Starlight, you have to eat something. Otherwise, you cannot go to the homecoming dance.” Kaitlin just stared at the ceiling and said, “I’m not sure whether I can even make it to the dance or not.” Sherleen put down the bowl of porridge and sighed, “Don’t say that, Miss Starlight. You already have your dress for that night.” Kaitlin closed her eyes and did not reply. “I’ll leave you alone for now, Miss Starlight.” Sherleen slowly made her leave. A few moments later, there was a knock and someone opened the door. Kaitlin opened her eyes and saw Mark was sitting next to her bed. “Kaitl...I mean, Miss Starlight. There’s something I want to ask you,” he paused for a while, took a deep breath and continued, “Will you go to the Homecoming Dance with me?” She didn’t know how to reply. “Please, Kaitlin.” Once she heard him saying her name, she smiled and nodded. “Thank you, Kaitlin. But you need to finish your porridge first.” She smiled and got up. Sherleen, who was peeping through the door, smiled as she saw Mark helped Kaitlin eating her dinner. “Kaitlin, you make it! I thought you still have your fever. Take a look at this place, it’s awesome. Even you looked hot. So, don’t tell me that you still don’t have any dates for tonight.” Lily talked to Kaitlin as she made her grand entrance. There were already so many people arrived and all their eyes were locked on her. She looked fabulous in her custom-made peach dress. Kaitlin waved at everyone and quickly faced back to Lily, “Thank you, Lily. Of course I have a date. Just wait and see.” “Now,” said the DJ, “I’ll proudly announce that this years’ Homecoming Queen goes to...Kaitlin Starlight! Come over her, Kaitlin! Claim your tiara!” Kaitlin walked gracefully to the stage and claimed her tiara. The DJ continued, “Let’s get the dance on now!” Everyone got their date by their side and started dancing. Suddenly, Mark Showed up and held out his hands towards Kaitlin, “Would you like to dance?” Kaitlin answered happily, “I do.” Everyone was shocked. Kaitlin Starlight dated Mark Sanford was a big hit. Everyone started cheering for them, not to mention Lily. She was happy for her friend. Meanwhile, Kaitlin danced her heart out with Mark. It was the night of her life. When it came to a slow dance, Mark held her waist while she put her arms around his neck. They were the centre of attention. She silently whispered to his ear, “Thank you, Mark. I’ll remember this moment, for now and always.” He took her home that night, safely. When they entered the house compound, Kaitlin stopped walking, followed by Mark. He asked her, “What’s wrong, Kaitlin?” She gritted her teeth and said, “Nothing. I just wanted to give you my gratitude for you had given me a chance to realise what life is all about. Since you

showed up, I never felt lonely and never had to force a smile on my face. Thank you for always being here with me all the way. I also wanted to say that I...I...I really love you, Mark.” He did not say anything. He moved closer to her, held her shoulders and kissed her. Then, he said, “I love you too, Kaitlin.” The next morning, Sherleen went into Kaitlin’s room to wake her up. She tried a few times but there was no respond from Kaitlin. She called for Kaitlin’s parents. They also tried to wake her up but there was no good. Mark was there, staring at the door while tears started to fall down his cheeks. On the same day, there was an announcement about Kaitlin’s death. Nobody believed it especially Lily. She said, “What kind of sick joke is this? Well, it isn’t funny. Why don’t we ask Mark? Hey, Mark. You dated her, right? Tell that announcer, tell him. Mark? Mark?” he spaced out for awhile. When he snapped out of it, he told the truth about everything; the cancer, the dates, the butler and everything. Lily cried out loudly, almost the whole block could hear her cry. Among all of the students, Mark was the only one who did not cry. He looked out at the sky and said, “Kaitlin, looked out after us. They all cried for you. Now, it’s your turn to be happy. I’ll never forget you, Kaitlin. I promise, Miss Starlight. Kaitlin Starlight.”

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