Removing The Mask [Finished]

McKenzie is the girl you find at the back of the classroom scowling and always disrupting the class. She's also the very same girl you see on TV, only you don't know it.

McKenzie Prince was your average fifteen year old girl, up until the point where she done what some people dream to do. She wrote book, and somehow got it published; under a different,so one knows, it's kept a secret so that she may have a double life.
Though it doesn't come without consequences, like the loss of her friends and the change in her family.
Just when McKenzie thinks her life can't get any more complicated or harder. It does. In the form of a new home, a cousin, her meddling mum and a group of friends she doesn't know if she should trust.

****Because of my fantastic readers, this story has been featured in the Hidden Gems Section on the front page of the website! Thank you fantastic people!***/***Also on Wattpad***


3. Chapter Three


Chapter Three


In the car I lay my coat across the middle seat in the back before buckling my seatbelt. Out the corner of my eye I watch mum climb in beside me and then dad as he gets into the driver’s seat.

We’ve just reached the main road when dad turns the radio on, a song I don’t recognise comes blasting through the speakers, breaking the silence that settled far too quickly. Mum’s quick to order dad to turn it off, order, not ask.

Shaking my head, I look away from her and out the window. Winter’s just begun and the temperature’s dropping too quickly in my opinion. It’s back to jeans and jackets instead of shorts and flip flops. I already miss lying in the garden reading a book, the feel of the sun warming my skin and the pesky horde of mosquitos that usually keep me company.

I’m about to put my earphones in when my attention’s drawn to mum’s fingers flying across the little keypad as she types. Whatever it is, it’s long.

“What’re you typing?” I try to get a peek but she tilts the Blackberry so I can’t see the screen.

“That’s none of your business.”

When I settle back in my seat she carries on button bashing.

“Is it about me?”

She nods slightly, her eyes narrowed at the screen.

“Then it’s one hundred per cent my business.”   

She just shakes her head without looking away from the small screen. 

“Mum I- whatever, it better not be another, charity, interview or anything similar in the slightest because I’m not going to do it.”

She looks like she’s about to argue but obviously decides against it when she looks back at the screen.

Sighing, I stuff an earphone into my ear, the music’s still playing and All Time Low’s Break Your Little Heart filters into my ear and flows all the way down to my toes.

“You know what you’re going to say right?”

It’s my turn to nod at her. “Yeah, we’ve only been over it about fifty times.”

“Well excuse me for not wanting you to make a fool  of the both of us.” Her voice is barely audible, but I still hear it.

“Pardon? Can you repeat that? Because you can’t have just said, what I think I just heard. ” We stare at each other and I realise she’s not got anything else to say.

“What do you have anything to do with what I say or do in front of the camera?” I shift so I’m facing her, the seatbelt digs painfully into my neck and hip but I ignore it, it’s a reminder that I’m not dreaming and she did in fact just say that.   

She looks at dad in the review mirror before returning her gaze to me.

“I said, I just don’t want you to make a fool of yourself. As for your stupid question, I’m not going to grace that with an answer.”

My gaze meets dads in the review mirror; he’s subtly shaking his head from side to side, telling me to let it go.

For once, I do and put the other earphone in. Ignoring the world around me.

Sadly traffic isn’t a problem and before I know it, I’m stepping out the Land Rover.

Leaving the coat on the backseat, I slam the door shut. Yes it’s freezing cold but I’ll be taking it off in the next twenty seconds anyway.

Dad grabs his book off the front seat and smiles back at me as I shut the door. Poor dad, he has to sit out here the entire time.

Goose bumps cover my arms as I walk to where mum has the door open. When I step in, I’m hit with a wave of warm air.

I focus on the music still coming from the earphone I still have in my ear while mum starts talking to the secretary.

I catch the tail end of the conversation as the song ends.

“Penny Andres would like to greet you personally before the show and then she’ll take you to the set herself.”  

I roll my eyes as I hear her high heels even before I see her. Her blond hair is cut to her shoulders and straight as an arrow. It barely moves as she walks down the hallway suggesting a hefty amount of hairspray has been used. Her dress is obviously supposed to looks smart with it’s with cap sleeves and black and white block material. The white belt is a nice touch but it’s all complexly spoiled by the large neckline and the fact that the dress could never be described as a reasonable length. I hate to think how much shorter it becomes when she sits down.    

She struts into the room with a big smile and an air of arrogance mixed in with her nauseating sweet perfume. 
“It’s so nice to meet you Zee, I am Penny Andres. I’m so happy to have you on the show today. You’ve been through the questions and it’s not live so there’s nothing for you to be worried about.” There’s almost a hint of sincerity in her patronising voice

“I’m not really worried.” I say with a shake of my head and a slightly posh voice as I always do when I’m her.

It’s a lie. I am worried, just not about her petty show; my brothers depleting brain cells, Global warming and the greenhouse effect, tigers becoming extinct in the rainforest and my mother’s sanity. These things tend to worry me. I’m nervous about her show, but I wouldn’t go as far to call it worried.

“That’s good then, confidence is a great help to not fumbling with your words in front of the camera. Right then, Whitney take Miss Glenna to the conference room so she can watch the recording on the wide screen.” Penny gestures towards the secretary behind the desk.

Mum squeezes my shoulder before following her through a door of to the side.

“Let’s get this show on the road then.” Her eyes are calculating when she looks at me. Like I’m a chess board and she’s trying to decide what move to make.

She leads the way back down the hallway she came from. When she stops at a door, I take a deep breath out of habit. Just remembering to do so, brings back my very first interview and how badly it went. I got so nervous I forgot to breath and almost fainted. That was followed closely with a panic attack and a whole page in the newspaper about me the following day.  

She opens it half way before pausing and looking at me.   

 “I love the mask.” As soon as it’s out her mouth she’s through the door leaving her sarcasm lingering in the air and a fire in my blood.

Gritting my teeth, I dash through the door and widen my stride to catch up with her.

“It’s almost as good as that dress of yours.” She slows her stride turning to me but I don’t stop and walk straight over to where the other quest stars sit in tacky red leather chairs.

I sit down in the remaining red chair which happens to be sandwiched between Carter Jameson’s and Jane Mill’s. The chair squeaks when I sit down making me wonder if they’d made the chairs do that on purpose or if I’m really just that unlucky. Now every time I move, I’m going to sound like I’m sitting on a mouse. 

Letting myself relax into the chair, I try to ignore the brightness of the overhead lights or the pairs of eyes that are watching me with what I can only describe as an unnerving fascination.

I cast a glance to either side of me and find that while Jane has put on a glimmer of a smile while looking at the small crowd, Carter is looks utterly bored while staring at the floor leaving me to be emotionless wherever I look because of the mask.
Jane’s staring in a series of movies based on a collection of books while Carter is the latest golfing hotshot, or so I’ve heard. Apparently he started to beat some of the best before getting knocked out the competition for not making the cut. He hasn’t got himself a trophy but he’s most definitely got himself an ego.     

While my eyes scan the room I spot Penny coming across from one of the many doors and to my amusement, she’s wearing another dress. It’s no longer than the one before and it’s pretty much the same apart from it being a blinding light green.

She stops halfway to talk to someone passing her.

“Is it really starting?” asks a voice meekly.

Turning my head I meet Jane’s eyes.

“Yeah, but it’ll be easy and over before you know it.” I try to keep my voice soothing to calm some of her obvious nerves. Something nobody’s done for me in a while.

“Yeah, we each get eight minutes to answer questions and we’ve seen them already so what’s there to worry about?” asks a voice, coming from the other side of me.

Looking, I see Carter’s still sprawled out in the chair. His arms are hanging off the side and his legs are stretched out in front of him making him look, without a better word for it, drunk.

“What?” He snaps making me realise that I’m staring. It’s creepy with the mask; I’ve looked at myself in the mirror enough times to know.

“You look drunk!” I keep my voice low but loud enough for him to hear.

“And you look like a freak, slash idiot with that mask. Do you see me sharing my thoughts?” He keeps his voice low as well obviously realising that If Penny heard it’d be in the magazines faster than we could say oopsies.

“No and aren’t we all grateful.” I smirk looking away, beat that!

The lights dim ever so slightly and Penny rushes over falling not so lady like into the chair facing ours, a cheesy music starts up as the lights shift.

“Good afternoon! Welcome to Review, tonight with us we have Jane Mills, M Z Pristine and Carter Jameson!” She smiles before carrying on. “Today I’d like to start with you Zee.” She pauses and I have to stop myself from rolling my eyes. I can’t describe how much I hate these TV programs. “We all know you have another name but we’re all wondering, why not use your real one?” 

The words leave my lips like I’m reading them from a script. “Because I want privacy, I am still only fifteen and I want to go to school like any other teenager. People may not care who I am, but they will care about the people I know or be asking me favours all the time.” The answers light but also give my point loud and clear.

The audience give a murmur of approval before erupting into a small applause.

It’s true though, I could write the best book of the year but no one will notice, become friends with the latest singing sensation and suddenly everyone wants to be my friend.    
“In your career what has surprised you the most?” She smiles but I know she’s not entirely satisfied with my answer.

I relax slightly, knowing that the hardest one is behind us.
“That would be my readers, the amount of support they give is heart-warming. The amount of comments left on my website is mind blowing…For me anyway because I never even thought I’d be here. You wouldn’t believe the difference they make. The confidence they’ve given me, I’ve found helps a great deal as I’m writing the second book.”

“How many books do you plan to write for this series?” The mask hides my moment of shock; this wasn’t one of the questions in the list.  

“I wouldn’t call it a series as I’m only going to write a sequel. A series would insinuate more than four books, four books being a saga and three a trilogy.”

She smiles slightly but I wouldn’t describe it as genuine.

“You certainly know your stuff.”  

“Well…its kinda my job.”

Her smile grows, her eyes narrowing slightly.

“A job you do so well.” She turns her attention to the camera. “I’m afraid it’s time for a break but when we come back, we’ll be getting to know Jane.”

The fancy lighting goes back to normal and I breathe a silent sigh of relief.  
Penny stands without looking at any of us and saunters to the other side of the room.

Sitting back, I cross my legs and count back from one thousand, hoping by the time I get to one, I’ll be climbing back into the car to leave.




As soon as it’s over, mum’s at my side nattering about the show. She tries to linger about but I usher out and back to the car.

I want nothing more than to go home and do nothing or run like my life depends on it…Haven’t decided yet.

After an hour and forty minutes in the car, I finally collapse onto the sofa and toe off my wedge heels.

“I think that went well don’t you?” Mum says coming into the living room and pulling a pin from her bun and letting her dyed brown hair slide to her shoulders.

“About as well as those shows can go.” I say closing my eyes and sagging into the sofa’s welcoming cushions.

“Well I think it went fine.”

“You would.” I say rolling my eyes.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She steps forward with her hands on her hips. Her eyes are fiery and where as it used to scare me, it doesn’t have much of an effect now.

“Doesn’t matter. Just remember that I have to actually sit on stage while you get to watch from a comfy sofa. Sitting on that stage in front of everyone and making sure I say the right thing is harder than watching it.” I pause looking at her rather heated face before closing my eyes and putting it out there.

“I don’t what to do anymore interviews or charities unless I want to do then. They’re pointless anyway, I’m an author mum, not some singer or actress. If they want to know about me then they’ll look me up on Wiki.”

“These pointless interviews and charities are what sell the books! I do them for you!” Her face is red and tight with anger.

“People buy my book because they want to read it not because they see me on some flipping TV show!”  I get up off the sofa and stand to face her.

“I think that’s enough.” Dad’s calm voice comes from behind me.

Mum looks at him before leaving the room and going up the stairs.

“She’s starting to really piss me off! Dad, why can’t she just accept that I don’t want all that?” I grit my teeth and rip the mask off my face, grimacing as the tape rips off my skin.

“Don’t swear McKenzie.” He doesn’t use my full name as a way to tell me off, he always uses my full name because he says it’s the name I was given and I should be called by it. He doesn’t say anything when other people call me different but I’ve never heard him call me by Kenzie, Kenz or Zee. 

Lately I’ve found myself favouring my full name to any of my nicknames.

“I’m a writer dad, I’m supposed to be creative with my words.” I give him a weak smile.

“She didn’t swear did she? McKenzie there’s no bloody need to.” Roger appears in the doorway next to dad. I scowl at him and he grins at me before elbowing dad gesturing back towards the kitchen.

I scoop up my wedges before walking back into the front hall and taking the stairs two at a time to get to my room.

Finally deciding to go for that run, I tug off the wig and chuck it onto the dresser along with the mask before changing.

I peel off the jeans before hopping into a pair of my favourite jeans; they’re ripped all over and baggy allowing blood to my toes and back! I shrug out the top with no consideration for the material and pull on a tank top before putting an off the shoulder jumper over the top of that. On the front is a speech bubble and written inside is: If you choke a Smurf what colour does it turn? Me and my sick sense of humour.

I yank the wig cap off my head when I realise I’m still wearing it and my hair tumbles out in a mess of brown semi curly hair.

Multitasking, I finger comb my hair as I shove my bare feet into my boots before yanking a jacket out the wardrobe and grabbing all the essentials.

I’m halfway down the stairs when my stomach starts grumbling reminding me that I haven’t eaten at all today.

Muttering to myself, I chuck my stuff onto the kitchen table before going about making a sandwich. I can eat it on the move that way, who cares if my stomach starts to hurt?  

Laying it down on a piece of kitchen towel, I turn to put the cheese back into the fridge and get a coke off the bottom shelf before shrugging into my jacket and pulling my hood up.

Turning, I go to grab my sandwich only to find an empty counter, I search the kitchen in case I put it somewhere else; I look in the bin in case I chucked it away by mistake. I look and it’s not in the fridge. I’m pretty sure we don’t have a mouse I think tapping my fingers on the counter. 

“The dog ate my sandwich again!” I shout just to irritate mum.

“We don’t have a dog!” I take note of the irritation in her voice and roll my eyes. Didn’t you know you gave birth to one?

Stalking through the house I linger outside the door to thoroughly shake the coke can in my hand before flinging open the garage door knowing full well they’re in here.

Rogers got the hood of dad’s car up and half my sandwich in his hand. Pig…dog works too.

“Roger that’s my sandwich!” Dad chuckles at my whining but stops when he sees me glaring at him.

“Would it really kill you to leave my food alone?” I sigh and even find myself pouting but can you really blame me? That’s my sandwich and I want to leave this sanity draining house.

“Yes because I haven’t eaten all day and you just left it lying around so…” He shrugs like its simple and I’m just stupid.

“I haven’t eaten all day either! I turned my back for a second! For you to have gotten the sandwich you must have morphed into flipping Thomas Crown! And it had my name written on it as well!”

Dad chuckles obviously finding it all very amusing while Roger scoffs.

“It did not!”

I grin, “Read the salad cream!”

He rolls his eyes. “I don’t give a shit!” 

“Here! Have my coke as well since you like stealing my food so much!” I toss it to him and he catches it easily and without hesitating pulls the ring up.

Coke sprays him over the face and the front of his t-shirt before he can react.

He looks at me slowly and I grin at him.

Dropping the can of coke he runs round the car in my direction. I stumble backwards with a yelp before making a sprint through the house. I pick up the keys to the backdoor on my way down the hall.

He’s right behind me calling every name in the book although a lot of them seem to have the ‘s’ word in them.  

I burst into the kitchen, startling mum before going straight for the  back door.

Gravity kicks in as I run down our sloped garden and only chance a look back when I almost crash into the gate at the bottom. The sight of him getting grilled by mum is enough to brighten my crummy day.



By the time I get to the park, my legs feel as if they’re about to give out on me and my chest fights to drag air into my lungs. I shouldn’t be here; I should’ve taken the walk that goes through the woods instead of coming all the way here, and what for? To sit on a bench and watch people like some crazy stalker.

If someone from school sees me…

Turning, I pull my hood up over my head, I can sneak away now and the damage can be avoided and forgotten. Biting my lip, I look over my shoulder at the wall that run’s along the side of the school separating the school grounds from the public park.

Gina’s sitting on it with Katy and a guy whose name escapes me. But isn’t usually far from them two.  He turns his head and I get a better look at his face, the name sliding into my head like a puzzel piece. Francis: Katy’s boyfriend.   

My eyes jump Gina’s face quickly before turning to walk away. My foot falters but I force my feet to move. My brain only just reacting to what I just saw.     

My left hand goes to right wrist. The wrist she broke by shoving me down the stairs after she gave me that look.  

I feel her eyes boring into my back even though I’m out of sight. But I force myself to not look back.



I'm sorry to say but this is the last chapter that will be uploaded onto here, but done worry! If you really want to continue reading you can find it on Amazon Kindle; it's on worldwide so if your in another country than I (who sits in their kitchen in England) it should be available to you as well! 


UK ~


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