I slumped down in my chair. I was supposed to be judging the people who were performing at Camp Rock's Final Jam, but I was only half-enjoying it. My brothers thought I was thinking about this girl Tess' performance, but my mind was really on this girl Mitchie that I met recently. See, a few weeks ago, my little brother Nate forced me, pop star Shane Gray, to help out at a camp where professional artists train aspiring musicians, with dancing and singing classes and whatnot. I really didn't want to go, but Nate insisted that I go to make myself look better. See, I had recently thrown a huge fit a couple of weeks ago that the press found out about, and they basically sent me here to 'do my time'.

Now, it was the last night of camp, where everyone participates in "Final Jam", which is basically a talent show. I'm actually dreading the end of it, because the winner of Final Jam gets to record a duet with me. Ugh!

So anyway, like I said, I was supposed to be judging Tess' performance (which wasn't too great, by the way), but my mind was on Mitchie. Mitchie was a camper here that I really thought I connected with. Her mother was supposedly the president of Hot Tunes China, so I figured we were basically in the same position—you know, people pretending to be our friends just because we're famous and all. Things were going great for a while, but then I found out that Mitchie had made up the whole story, and her mother was actually a cook here. Imagine that! Apparently, Mitchie was another one of those pretenders. That made me furious and pretty upset.

However, my brothers would get mad at me if they found out I wasn't paying attention, so I did my best to focus on the performance. But Tess hadn't been singing for only a couple minutes when she stopped suddenly. She looked out at someone in the audience for a moment, then ran backstage crying.

The whole auditorium was shocked. I looked at my brothers, bewildered.

"What do you think happened?" Nate whispered. "Did she get a case of stage fright?" Nate had had his fair share of stage fright himself—we all had—so that could have been understandable.

"Maybe one of her backup singers whispered something into her ear and what they said made her upset…" my older brother Jason said, but trailed off. You could tell he knew it wasn't much of an idea, but he just wanted to contribute to the conversation. Sometimes Jason is just like that.

Nate looked me in the eye. "Shane, maybe you should go talk to her. You know, just make sure she's OK."

I looked at him reluctantly. "Why can't you?" I asked. Sure, I was comfortable sharing my feelings with Mitchie (emphasis on was), but Tess was a completely different story. Mitchie told me that she was kind of bratty and self-centered.

Nate sighed. "Look, Shane. I'm sure you've changed over the summer. Really, I think you have. But I'll be fully convinced that you've changed if you can make that girl feel better.

I sighed. Nate was right; I had pretty much learned that it wasn't all about me, but Nate could get stubborn, and I knew that if I really wanted him off my back, I would go help Tess. I slipped out of my seat quickly and caught up with her.

"Hey," I said awkwardly. I saw Tess sitting in a corner, crying her eyes out. "Are you alright? Do you want to talk?"

She looked up and glared at me. "Look, why do you care? You have to go back out there and judge, not worry about my feelings. And no, I don't want to talk. So why don't you just leave me alone?" she snapped.

"Come on, at least tell me what's wrong. Did you forget your lines?" I asked sympathetically.

Tess shook her head solemnly.

I frowned. "Well, what happened then?"

I could tell that Tess was hesitant to tell me what was wrong at first, and a part of me felt a bit guilty for pushing her. After all, it was her problem, and she had every right to want to be alone. I mean, I sure didn't always want to talk when I was upset.

I sighed. "Look, I'm sorry, OK? I didn't mean to pressure you or anything. You don't have to talk if you want to. I just wanted to know if you were alright, that's all." I turned to leave, but Tess shook her head. So apparently she wanted to talk after all! I sat down next to her.

She was crying so hard that it took her a while just to find her voice, but she finally choked out, "M-my stupid f-famous mother is ne-never around anymore, and I was h-happy when I saw that she-hic-was in the audience, but then she h-had to-hic-take a phone call, so she had to-hic-leave the room."

I wasn't sure what to say. I nodded and put my arm around her. I didn't know from experience, but having a mother who was never around had to be pretty rough. "Do you get that a lot?" I asked quietly.

She nodded. "In third grade, I-hic-got the lead role in Cinderella. I was really-hic-excited for my mom to see me perform, but she had to go to a last-minute benefit concert that I didn't-hic-know about until a couple of hours before-hic-opening night. I was really upset then."

I took a deep breath and leaned against the wall. Talk about an awful experience just then! "I'm so sorry about that," I said quietly.

"Don't interrupt me!" she snapped suddenly. But I just nodded calmly. It wasn't like her snapping was uncalled for or not understandable. She went on, "You know, my mom's fame has caused other problems, too."

I turned to her. "Really? Like what?"

Tess sighed. Her voice was steady by now. "People use me a lot. I remember this one time back in sixth grade—that was one of my hardest years, because I had just transferred schools, which I did a lot when I was little. But anyway, when I got to school, I was suddenly the most popular girl. I did have a few good friends that I thought actually liked me for me, but then came the fateful day when I wasn't able to get them tickets to one of my mom's concerts, and they totally dropped me. I mean, I guess it wouldn't have been so bad if I realized they didn't really like me, but…" she trailed off.

"I'm so sorry," I murmured again, but this time she didn't snap at me for interrupting her.

She shrugged. "At least here I have Peggy and Ella. But I don't even know if they like me at all. I mean, I did kind of force them into being my friends; as a matter of fact, I guess they're more like my posse than my friends." She shook her head. "I was actually happy here for once, though. At least I knew people, so I could cut down on the pretenders. And then there was Mitchie. But I suppose it was partly my fault. I did make it clear to her that she could only be my friend if she were cool. But she still didn't have to lie to impress me!"

Suddenly, it hit me. Mitchie didn't make up that lie to impress me because I was a superstar! She lied because she wanted to impress Tess! The only reason she had to lie around me was to make sure I didn't tell anyone else. Knowing that her lie wasn't for me made me feel a lot better.

However, that didn't mean I would go back to being in love with her. She was a great friend, and I decided she should stay that way. I realized then that I connected more with Tess than Mitchie. After all, one of the main reasons I liked Mitchie was because I thought people used her like they did me. But apparently, Tess was the girl that I thought Mitchie was.

I smiled at Tess. "You know, people use me, too."

She wiped her eyes and smiled. "Well, yeah, I'm sure they do. I mean, you're directly famous."

I nodded. "Like, one time at this meet-and-greet, this girl Patty put on way too much makeup, and wore what must have been her mother's clothes, because she wanted to impress me so badly. That made me frustrated, especially because she was a really nice girl, which was all that mattered to me. She shouldn't have tried so hard to impress me, you know what I mean?"

Tess rolled her eyes. "Yeah, well, welcome to my world."

We sat there silently for a few moments. I took a deep breath and said, "You know, I thought Mitchie was the person who people always pretended around. That's what I really liked about her. But I guess you're who I thought she was, if that makes sense." I was hoping she'd get my hint. It took just about all of my willpower not to blush furiously.

Tess just smiled. "Yeah. I guess deep down, I've always wanted to have another person in my life that actually knew what was going on! It's just been too hard for me to do it alone." She looked down awkwardly. It was obvious that she usually wasn't this open with people—neither was I—but heck, that's what sometimes just happens when you're with someone you really connect with., like I did with Tess and vice versa.

Embarrassed, Tess snapped her head up. "So…you're doing a concert in Chicago next week, right?" Tess said slowly. I nodded.

"Well, I happen to live there, so…I was wondering if…you know…" You could just see the immediate remorse on her face.

But I just smiled. "Yeah, I'll take you out to lunch or something."

Tess grinned as relief filled her face.

I was about to get up and go back out, but then I thought of something. "Hold on, though. We can only go on the date on one condition."

"Oh, and what is that?" Tess asked, giving me a very flirty smile.

I half-glared at her. "Tess, listen to me. I'm being serious here, OK? We can only go out if you promise to apologize to Mitchie for what you did to her.

Tess looked stricken, and I almost regretted saying that. The last thing I wanted was for her to be mad at me. But I still thought it was the right thing.

"Come on, Tess," I coaxed. "Even if she did lie, which was bad on her part, you really didn't have to force her to tell the truth in front of the entire camp and humiliate her. Please do it, for me? Mitchie's a great girl, and there's no reason she should be hurt." My eyes hardened again. "Go apologize," I said, with just a bit of an edge to my voice. "I mean it."

At first, Tess was a little frightened, but I watched her think it over, and she eventually smiled. "OK, it's a deal. For you."

I raised my eyebrows and grinned. "Looks like lunch is on then! I'll talk to you tomorrow, OK?" Tess nodded.

Suddenly, I felt something tapping my shoulder. "Hey, Shane. You've gotta get back out there to judge the next act," Nate said.

I looked up and blinked at him. What? Oh, OK. See you tomorrow, Tess." I winked at her, ad she winked back.

Maybe Tess was the right girl for me after all.

A/N: So, what did you think? Feel free to leave me a review and tell me what parts seemed kind of weak to you, or if I was too repetitive with words and phrases, whatever! Don't be afraid to give me criticism. D