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I was still on my feet but I didn’t move as the rest of the class stood and jostled around me. Nobody said anything as they made their way to the list. Not even Alana. Something lit a fire in me and I pushed my way through the class.

“I really think you picked the wrong student,” I told Ms. Lyon when I reached her. “I only got the idea for this topic because Alana gave some great advice to my cousin. Alana is good at advice. I’d like a different assignment, please.”

Ms. Lyon shook her head. “Kathryn, the harder you fight me on this the more I realize it’s exactly what you need to do. You obviously applied to this class for a reason.”

Was Alana forced me to a reason she would understand?

“But I wanted to learn about behind-the-scenes stuff,” I explained. “Maybe the hosts can switch after two weeks like the rest of the jobs do?”

Ms. Lyon shook her head. “Sorry, but hosting has to be consistent for the listeners. You know it’s the one job that doesn’t get to switch. But you’ll learn about every element of podcasting in class along with the others.” She glanced past me. “Now, it looks like Victoria already has your binder. I need you two to get to know each other so you can work well together on air.”

There was something about Ms. Lyon’s stance and the firm set of her jaw that let me know I wasn’t going to talk my way out of this.

I slumped and turned around, catching sight of Alana. She had her binder and was sitting next to Frank Young. Did that mean he was her partner? This was getting worse and worse.

I rushed over to my best friend. “What did you get assigned?”

“I start with marketing,” she said, flipping through the binder.

“With him?” I asked, under my breath.

“He has a name and you know it,” Frank said.

Frank was the kind of guy who might have been cute if not for his personality. His blue eyes looked sleepy in a laid-back way and he had one of those dimples in his chin. His nose was larger than average and crooked, but that gave him a rugged look. He wore his brown hair short around the ears but long and full on top.

“I try to forget your name daily,” I said.

“It’s the name that’s going to be on your marina soon so it will be easier to remember.”

My insides boiled. “You wish.”

Alana held up her hand. “Stop,” she said. “Yes, I’m paired with Frank. Did you see this lovely contract in the binders that we have to sign? It basically says that even though Frank is a jerk, I have to get along with him.”

“I’m the jerk?” he said, narrowing his eyes.

Alana scrunched her lips to the side as if actually thinking about that question. “Yes.”

Frank had proven his jerk-hood many times. But fighting over this in class wasn’t going to get any of us anywhere, so I swallowed my words like I often did to keep the peace.

“Marketing?” I said instead.

“We’re in charge of the podcast’s social media accounts and trying to get people to call the phone lines while we’re recording,” Alana explained.

“You’ll be good at that,” I said.

“Thanks,” she said.

“I’m sorry.” I knew that despite her smile, she was disappointed. “You know I don’t want to host.”

“I know. It’s okay, though. You’ll do a good job.”

“I’ll do a horrible job and we both know it.”

She let out a little laugh. “You’ll be fine, Kate.”

Frank scoffed beside her.

“Shut it, Frank. She will,” Alana said. Then she turned back to me. “You better get over there before your partner has a coronary.” She nodded her head toward Victoria.

I looked over to where Victoria sat, holding up the binder and waving it at me. “If I could give you my job, I would,” I whispered to Alana.

“I know. But there’s nothing you could’ve done. Go figure out how you’re going to work with Victoria and I’ll stay over here and try to figure out how I’m going to work with this.” She smacked Frank’s arm and he looked up from where he had disappeared into his phone.

“What?” he asked.

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