Authors: Betsy Haynes
FABULOUS FIVE #28
A BANTAM SKYLARK
NEW YORK • TORONTO •
LONDON • SYDNEY • AUCKLAND
RL 5, 009-012
A Bantam Skylark Book
/ December 1991
Skylark Books is a
registered trademark of Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell
Publishing Group, Inc. Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and
The Fabulous Five
is a registered trademark of Betsy Haynes and James Haynes.
Copyright © 1991
by Betsy Haynes and James Haynes.
© 1991 by Andrew Bacha.
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or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
address: Bantam Books.
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and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this
simultaneously in the United States and Canada
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published by Bantam Books
, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell
Publishing Group, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words "Bantam
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PRINTED IN THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA
OPM 0 9 8 7 6 5
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"Gosh, Jana, it seems so
to think that you
and Randy have really broken up," said Beth Barry as the two girls entered
the front door of the public library on Saturday afternoon.
Jana Morgan paused inside the door and looked solemnly at
her friend. Then she sighed. "It's only been a week, but if you want to
know the truth, it seems weird to me, too. I know it was the best thing to do,
though. And besides, I'm sure it will just be temporary."
"Right," Beth agreed, sounding as if she were
trying to convince herself. "But I still can't understand why you did it."
"I explained all that," Jana replied with a trace
of impatience. "We've gone steady since sixth grade. Neither one of us has
ever dated anyone else. How can we possibly be sure if what we feel for each
other is real or just a habit? Don't you see, Beth—Randy and I need to date
other people for a while."
Beth didn't answer.
Jana led the way to the main room of the library and put her
notebook down beside one of the newly installed computers that had replaced the
old card catalogs. She wished that Beth hadn't brought up Randy Kirwan. She was
trying so hard to keep her mind off their "experiment," as they had
decided to call it. They had even made a date for exactly one month from the
day it started to see if they had changed the way they felt about each other.
Still, as bad as she felt about not seeing Randy for an entire month, it made
sense to her that they should cool their relationship for a while—especially,
she thought with a chill, after the conversation she had had with her mother
not long ago.
She and Randy had been to a Friday night dance in the
Wakeman Junior High gym. Wakeman's own rock band, The Dreadful Alternatives,
had played, and she and Randy had had a great time. After Randy dropped her
off, her mother had fixed them both a cup of hot chocolate, and they had curled
up on the sofa to talk.
Jana had still been feeling dreamy about her evening with
Randy. "Mom, remember the story you used to tell me about how my father was
such a great dancer, and how you danced until after midnight on the night you
met?" she had asked.
Mrs. Pinkerton had sighed. "Yes. How could I ever
forget? Your father was handsome and witty, and he simply swept me off my feet."
She had gazed into the distance before going on. "I've often wished that I
had dated a few other guys before I married him and found out that we were
totally wrong for each other. Of course if I had," her mother had added,
giving her a warm hug, "I would never have had you, and that would have
Jana had stared at her mother, thinking about Randy. She and
he were years away from getting married, of course, but they had never dated
anyone else. What if someday, after it was too late, they found out that
were wrong for each other? She knew that after the divorce her mother had had a
tough time and had been awfully lonely before she met Wallace Pinkerton, and
married him several months ago.
Jana couldn't explain all that to Beth any more than she
could to Randy. It was just too private. Her mother had told her in confidence.
The only person she had told was Christie Winchell, one of the members of The
Fabulous Five. She had moved to London, England, and wouldn't tell a soul. But
the story had convinced her that she had to find out for sure if she and Randy
really were meant for each other.
It had taken Jana a long time to convince Randy that they
should break up and date other people. He had argued that he knew how he felt
about her and didn't need to date anyone else to prove it. But she had stuck to
her conviction, and sometimes she couldn't help wondering if she had made a big
"What topic did you choose?" Beth whispered from
the computer next to Jana's.
Jana blinked back to the present and opened her notebook to
the list of topics that Mrs. Clark, her Family Living teacher, had given to the
class. They were supposed to pick a topic, research it at the library, and
write a report. "Day-care centers," she replied.
"That's the same one I picked." Beth said, her
face lighting up. "Hey, maybe we can share the research. That way, each of
us will only have to look at half the sources."
"Good idea," said Jana.
She turned her attention back to the computer screen.
Do you wish to locate ____ subject
, ____ author,
or ____ title? Place an X beside your choice and press ENTER.
Jana put an
beside SUBJECT and punched the ENTER
key. She glanced around the room while she waited for the computer to process
her choice and move on to the next selection. Her gaze swept the magazine
racks, the case holding rental videos, and on to the large tables where she and
Beth would sit to make notes as soon as the computer located the material they
needed. An elderly man was reading a newspaper at one table. At another table a
woman balanced a toddler on her knee as she copied something from a book.
Suddenly Jana froze. She felt herself go numb as she stared
at a table near the window where Randy and Sara Sawyer were sitting with their
heads close together over a large open book. Randy pointed to something on the
page, and Sara nodded. It was obvious that they were studying together,
probably working on the same Family Living report that she and Beth were. It
was the first time Jana had seen Randy with someone else, and her heart felt as
if it were shattering into a million pieces. And why did it have to be Sara
Sawyer, of all people, who had been her friend for ages?
Jana looked closely at Sara. She was a total contrast to
Jana, whose hair was dark brown and fell to her shoulders. Sara's honey-colored
hair was short and curled softly around her face. Sara was athletic, and her
complexion had the healthy glow of someone who spent a lot of time outdoors.
Jana's heart sank. It was easy to see why Randy might like Sara.
"What's the matter?" asked Beth.
Jana couldn't take her eyes off Randy and Sara, so she
nodded in their direction and heard Beth gasp.
"That jerk! It's only been a week!" Beth spat the
words out, but then she turned to Jana with huge, sympathetic eyes. "Oh,
Jana! It's just awful. How can you stand it?"
"It's okay," Jana said, tears misting her eyes. "We're
supposed to date other people, remember?"
Beth mumbled something Jana couldn't hear as she turned back
to her computer and tried to concentrate on it. She couldn't let herself fall
apart, especially not with Randy in the same room.
List the subject exactly as you would like the computer
to search for it _______________
Jana typed in "Day-Card Centers" and had started
to press the ENTER key when she noticed her mistake. "Day
Centers, dummy," she muttered to herself. "I can't let this get to
To Jana's relief, by the time she and Beth had gone into the
stacks and located the books they needed and brought them back to a table,
Randy and Sara were gone.
"He probably saw you here and turned chicken,"
"Beth," Jana said crossly. "You know he's
supposed to be with other girls. Our experiment won't work if we don't date
"Then why aren't you going out with other guys?"
Jana took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I will,"
she said with determination. "It's just hard to let guys know you're
available. Most people don't understand why Randy and I broke up. They probably
think I'm crying my eyes out and wouldn't want to go out with anybody else."
Beth was silent for a moment. Then she leaned closer to Jana
and said in a confidential tone, "I think I'd die if Keith and I broke
—even though lately he has been acting like a jerk. I
don't know what's wrong with him, but I can't help liking him, anyway."
Jana smiled and put a sympathetic hand on her friend's
shoulder. "You're always saying how immature he is. If he's acting like a
jerk, maybe that's why. "
Beth nodded. "Yeah. I guess so. At least, I hope that's
Half an hour later the girls had copied all the information
they needed and were heading for the door when Beth looked at her watch. "Do
you realize that it's only two o'clock? It seems like it should be at least
"It is early," Jana agreed. "Want to go to
Beth squinted out the window beside the door. "Naw. It's
starting to rain, and if my hair gets wet, I'll get the frizzies. Let's go to
Bumpers. It's closer."
Jana bit her lower lip. What if Randy and Sara were there?
Seeing Jana hesitate, Beth said, "Hey, we don't have to
go to Bumpers. I mean, if you think you might run into Randy and Sara, we could
go to my house instead."
Jana paused for another second and then lifted her chin. "No,"
she answered. "Let's go to Bumpers. I'm going to have to get used to
seeing him with other girls. Besides, maybe there'll be some cute boys there
Laughing, they dashed out into the rain and down the street
toward Bumpers. The fast-food restaurant, which was named for the old amusement
park bumper cars that decorated it, was full of kids from Wakeman Junior High,
and rock music blasted from the old Wurlitzer jukebox in the corner.
As soon as they were inside the door, Beth whipped a mirror
out of her backpack and groaned. "What did I tell you? The frizzies! You
find us somewhere to sit, and I'll go into the girls' room and see if I can do
something with this hair. Keith might be here, and I don't want him to see me
looking like a Brillo pad."
Jana nodded and gazed around cautiously. If only the rest of
The Fabulous Five were here. But Katie Shannon had gone to her grandmother's
for the day, and Melanie Edwards was baby-sitting her little brother. And
naturally Christie wouldn't be here. Still, Jana wished that Beth hadn't left
her alone. What if Randy and Sara were here, after all? What would she say to
them? How should she act? It would be so much easier if she had someone along
with her to talk to. She could pretend to be so deep in conversation that she
didn't notice them.
Easing her way through the crowd, Jana spotted an empty
yellow bumper car and headed straight for it. Maybe if she didn't look around,
she could avoid the embarrassment of making eye contact with Randy or Sara.
She let out a sigh of relief as she sank into the booth. So
far, so good. Once Beth got back from the girls' room, Jana would be able to
relax and look around to see if there really were any cute boys in the place.
Suddenly Keith Masterson pushed his way through the crowd
and plopped down beside her. "Hey, Jana. How's it going?"
Startled, Jana hesitated an instant before answering. "Hi,
Keith. I'm fine. So what's up?"
"Not much." He clasped his hands behind his head
and leaned back, grinning at her. "Everything's cool."
Jana looked at him curiously. What did he want, anyway? Then
she remembered that she and Beth had come in the door together. He had probably
seen them and was waiting for Beth.
"Kirwan said you two broke up. Was he kidding?"
Jana shook her head. There was a funny sensation in the pit
of her stomach, and she didn't trust herself to say anything for a moment.
Finally she looked at Keith and said, "We just decided that we should date
other kids, that's all."
"So that's why I saw him with Sara Sawyer a few minutes
Jana nodded. She didn't like the way the conversation was
going. She certainly didn't want to talk about Randy and Sara Sawyer.
Plastering a fake smile on her face, she told Keith, "Beth will be here in
a minute. She just went to brush her hair."
"Whoa!" he said, sitting up abruptly and sliding
out of the bumper car. "See you around."
"But aren't you even going to wait for Beth?" Jana
"Hey, what can I say?" Keith raised his arms in an
exaggerated shrug. "Gotta split."
Frowning, Jana watched him rush through the crowd and disappear
out the door.