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But then tragedy strikes for America's tabloid princess, and Jack and his family are all Cherie has left. Suddenly, Jack finds himself riding the roller coaster that is Cherie Belle's life: fending off the paparazzi, moving to California, and being cast in the tabloids as her new boyfriend. That part would be fine if it were true. Instead, Jack missteps onto Cherie's bad side and becomes the target of her diva mood swings and mean-spirited pranks, as she goes to ridiculous lengths to make his life miserable.
Just when Jack is through playing nice, his life turned upside down, Cherie shows up drunk and sobbing, revealing she is far from over her parents' deaths. He realizes she's giving the public exactly what it wants: an epic fall from grace. Jack knows he should tell someone that Cherie is spiraling out of control. But once Jack begins to care about Cherie, it becomes harder to keep her secrets; especially when Jack becomes her biggest secret of all.
Because when we emerge from the supermarket, we are swarmed by humans with cameras for heads. There are all types – fans holding up cellphones, professional photographers, and news reporters with video cameras and microphones that they immediately thrust in her face.
“Cherie! Cherie how are you?”
“We love you Cherie!”
“We’re praying for you, Cherie!”
“Stop wearing furs! Do you know how many defenseless animals are killed for your stupid fur coats?”
“Cherie, will you still be hosting the New Year’s Ball with Caz?”
My head is spinning. We take a step left, and they step in our path. We swerve right, and there they are again, blocking our path. I look down at Cherie, who keeps her sunglasses down to hide her eyes. I can tell by her stiff, unsmiling mouth that she is unnerved. Her head hangs low, her shoulders curve inward, and she tucks her arms against her body. She is shrinking inside of herself.
But they don’t seem to notice. Or care.
“Cherie, are you going back to work on Choc it Up?”
“Cherie, is it true you were drinking at a nightclub the evening your parents died?”
“Cherie, is Jack your new boyfriend?”
Britney cries out, “Jackie!” before I have a chance to digest that last question. I look down and see she is engulfed by the photographers.
I’ve tried to keep my cool up until now, but these people have crossed a line. Frustrated, I command, “Move!” They part immediately. I lean down and hoist my sister up in one arm. I reach out with my free hand and grab Cherie’s. Gritting my teeth, I lower my head and plow through the crowd like we’re one yard short of a first down, and I have been given the ball. Surprisingly, they get out of my way.
But it doesn’t stop the questions.
“Jack – Jack, are you and Cherie dating?”
“Cherie, how does it feel to be an orphan? Can you give us a statement?”
The barking continues to swirl and swim around my head as we walk hastily forward. I do my best to tune them out and protect the girls. They both look like they’re about to cry, and I’m not sure who needs more shielding. I quickly deposit Cherie into the front seat.
“Buckle Britney in when I put her in the car seat,” I command, and she nods. I swing around to my side and drop Britney, who has started to cry from all of the commotion, into the back. It’s the first time I have ever set her down in the car without checking that she was safely buckled, but I trust Cherie to take care of it. I jump inside, start the engine, and throw the stick shift into reverse.
The cameras are everywhere. I honk my horn and gesture for them to move. I can get in trouble if I hit someone, and I would definitely lose my license. Frustrated, I shout, “Get out of the way!” I’m almost ready to hit someone anyway. They seem to sense I've reached my limit of patience and start to back away from my bumpers.
“Thank you! Geez! How the hell did all those people know we were there?” I mutter, more to myself than to Cherie. “Only two guys were outside when we first got there!”
“Those two guys tell two guys, and pretty soon you have a gaggle of them at your door,” she replies.
I’m baffled. “Tell me that this is not every day of your life.”
She shakes her head. “It wasn't this bad before.”