Cheri is an innocent fourteen-year-old raised in a small town in Nebraska. Her father lands a promotion, demoting her to a status of 'nobody' in a much larger and inhospitable city. One of the few people she connects with in her new school spills the beans that Cheri is still a virgin. Some of her cool schoolmates frown on that condition and exert pressure on her to ditch her inhibitions. Faced with the loneliness of the new environment coupled with relationship problems with her father, Cheri finds the temptation growing strong. When her father assigns an older babysitter, she is ready rebel. However, she finds that Jean Macalester is no ordinary sixty-year-old, especially to a girl with aspirations of resuming a love affair with music ...
Cheri dove into the pool and came to the surface laughing. Her old friends swam around her sharing the joy. The lifeguard's whistle interrupted their laughter. Cheri tried to ignore it and continue swimming, but it just kept blowing. It must be break time, and she had to get out of the pool. Her eyes drooped open. "That's not a whistle. It's that infernal alarm clock." She reached over and pounded on the snooze button. For a moment she lay hoping to recapture the joy of her dream. It didn't happen.
For a few moments she thought of how badly she didn't want to go to school. Visions of parading by all those strangers, who stared like judges from American Idol after a performance of unmelodious screeching, haunted her. Her mind wandered from school for a minute while she pondered why people without talent were allowed to be on that show. That was pretty mean of them to put people on television just to provide an opportunity for the judges to cut them to shreds. It was like those judges were junior high kids who never grew up. Her alarm went off again, ending the wandering of her thoughts.
She would have to go to school. No way would she be able to convince her dad that she was sick. Might as well get up before Dad comes in here and yells at me. She stood in her closet surveying the available lineup of young woman’s clothing. There was nothing there she felt was adequate. School was like a competitive fashion show. She'd be a loser again today. Dad didn't believe in impressing people with clothing.
"Screw it! Neither do I. It's not important what's on the outside of a person, but rather what's on the inside. If they don't like my clothing, they can jump in the . . . ." Thoughts of water brought back her dream, and she wished she was getting ready to go to school back in Nebraska or, better yet, going swimming with her friends.
Her dad poked his head into her room. "You wide awake and bushy- tailed?"
"Yeah, Dad." What in the world does bushy-tailed mean? Adults really talk weird sometimes.
"OK, kiddo. I'm on my way to work now. Have a wonderful day!"
"You too, Dad." Yeah, right. Does he really expect me to overcome all that crap I have to deal with at school by wishing me a wonderful day? Get a clue!
After downing a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheri finished preparing herself to run the junior-high gauntlet and walked out to the bus stop. She'd been riding this bus for two months and only knew one person at the bus stop. She wasn't there today, so Cheri stood by herself, waiting for the yellow monster to abduct and deliver her into the bowels of enemy territory and a new day of hell.
After boarding Cheri tried to escape into a fantasy world through a book she had checked out of the school library. She was having trouble concentrating on it, severely minimizing the escape factor. The bus stopped again, throwing her slightly forward and interrupting what little concentration she had. I don't get it. A person in a car gets a ticket if he doesn't have a seatbelt on and here the government carries sixty kids in the same vehicle without a single seatbelt. How brain-dead is that?
"Excuse me, but is that seat taken?"
She looked up to find a boy standing over her and pointing to the empty seat next to her. She shook her head and slid over by the window. The boy plopped himself down next to her. Cheri attempted to put her nose back into her book, but the presence of the male next to her made that next to impossible.