Katie Starting from Scratch (5 page)

BOOK: Katie Starting from Scratch
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What's Up with Alexis?

ormally, I was not especially excited to wake up on a Monday morning and go to school, but that morning I was looking forward to seeing my friends and getting a break from the Emily-Jeff thing.

At lunchtime, everyone in the cafeteria was talking about the talent show auditions. They were going to be held every day after school from three to four because so many people wanted to try out.

“It's crazy how many people are auditioning,” Mia was saying as we ate our lunch. “I mean, can there possibly be that many people with talent in our school?”

“Well, that's the whole point of the show, right?” Alexis asked. “I mean, probably lots of people have
hidden talents and never get to show them off.”

“I can pick up socks from the floor of my room with my toes, but I wouldn't do it onstage,” I said. “I don't know. Have you ever seen those talent shows on TV? Half of those people think they have great voices and stuff, but then they start singing and they're terrible.”

“But the TV producers put them on
they're bad,” Alexis argued. “That won't happen here. That's why they're having so many auditions, so only the good people will get through.”

“It's supercompetitive,” Emma agreed. “I would be too afraid to even play my flute now. Did you know that Olivia Allen has been taking private singing lessons to get ready for this?”

“I am not surprised,” Mia said. “That girl loves attention.”

“Well, not everyone does it to get attention,” Alexis said. “Like George. He does it to have fun.”

“Are you kidding? He loves attention,” I said. “He's a bigger ham than the one my grandma Carole serves on Christmas.”

“Well, anyway,” Alexis said, “all this fuss about it is good for us, because now Channel Eight is going to cover the show.”

“How is that good for us?” I asked.

“Because I contacted their news department and pitched the Cupcake Club as part of their story,” Alexis said, getting excited. “They're going to do a feature on us, separate from the whole talent show thing, but they'll film us selling cupcakes that night as footage for the story. They may do the interviews then, too.”

I couldn't believe it. I raised my arms and started bowing over the table. “Alexis, you are a certified genius. That is great publicity.” And I was pretty excited. Being interviewed for the local news? Totally cool.

Emma was frowning. “But you said you weren't going to be there. We can't do it without you.”

“Of course you can,” Alexis said. “You're a model, aren't you? So you should be comfortable in front of the camera. If you want, I'll write up a statement for you about how we started the business.”

“And then Katie and I can sell cupcakes,” Mia said.

“And look fabulous,” I added. “But, Alexis, can't you get out of whatever you're doing? It stinks that you won't be there. We're part of a team!”

Alexis's cheeks turned a little pink. “It's a . . . business club thing. I can't get out of it. Sorry.”

I looked at Mia, and I knew we were both thinking the same thing: Something was up with Alexis. But before we could ask her about it, she did my latest favorite trick—she changed the subject.

“So, Katie, it was nice having Emily at the Cupcake meeting,” Alexis said.

“Well, thanks for letting her come,” I said. “The next time my mom asks, I'll tell her no.”

“You don't have to do that,” Emma said. “Seriously. She's great.”

“She's smart, polite, and creative,” Alexis said. “It was a pleasure to have her around.”

“It makes sense,” Mia said. “I mean, Mr. Green is really nice, so of course he would have a nice daughter.”

I rolled my eyes. “You guys sound like the Emily fan club.”

“Well, it's good that she's nice,” Mia said. “Be thankful! You got lucky. Just like I got lucky with Dan as a stepbrother. Mostly.”

I didn't like where this conversation was headed. “Hey, nobody said she's going to be my stepsister,” I said. “I don't know why everybody keeps thinking that Mom is going to marry Mr. Green.”

“Maybe because they spend all their free time together?” Alexis asked.

I didn't have any reply to that. Alexis had a good point. I tried to think of some way to change the subject, but I couldn't. So I took a bite of my sandwich instead. Alexis seemed happy to stop talking too, so we pretty much finished our lunch in silence.

Things were starting to get weird in my life. Not good weird, like videos of cats who sound like humans, but bad weird, like when you don't feel like you know where you fit in in the world anymore.

And the weirdness was about to get even weirder.

All Emily, All the Time

o, since you don't have any Cupcake events this weekend, I planned a special weekend for us with Jeff and Emily,” Mom was saying at dinner on Thursday night.

I almost choked on my spaghetti. “All weekend?” I asked. “Besides, it's not true that I don't have any Cupcake things. I promised Emma I would help bake the mini cupcakes for the bridal shop.”

Mom frowned. “You really need to tell me these things, Katie. But I understand. That's okay, actually. Most of the things we planned are on Saturday or Sunday. With time worked in for you to do your homework, of course.”

“Of course,” I grumbled, poking at the food on my plate with my fork. Homework and time
with my new sort-of family. What a weekend this was going to be.

“And then she went out to the store and came back with a big calendar, one of those ones you can wipe off,” I told Emma the next night as we baked the mini cupcakes. “And she asked me to write all my Cupcake dates there so we wouldn't have any more ‘scheduling conflicts.' Can you believe that?”

Emma nodded toward the little mudroom attached to her kitchen—the room where she and her brothers stashed their shoes and backpacks and stuff before they came into the house.

“We have one in there. It's a good idea, actually,” she said. “There's so much going on, and this way we can keep track of where everyone is and where everyone needs to be.”

“Now you sound like Alexis,” I teased. But I was starting to feel like none of my friends understood me anymore. I mean, Mom's calendar thing was ridiculous, right? She only had to keep track of me. But I guess now she thought she had to keep track of me, Emily, and Jeff.

I finished pouring the batter into the mini-muffin cups. Every week, we make a big batch of tiny white cupcakes for the bridal shop in town.
They do a small fashion show where models show off the newest wedding dresses, and they serve the cupcakes to their guests. They're small and pretty, and some of the guests have ordered cupcakes from us after that. Emma is the one who always brings the cupcakes there, and sometimes she models bridesmaid dresses too.

“I never get tired of making these,” Emma said, sliding the cupcakes tins into the oven. “They're so pretty.”

Later on, while we were icing the cupcakes, Emma's brother Matt came into the kitchen. He's a grade above us, and he has blond hair and blue eyes, like Emma.

“Making any extras?” he asked.

“It's the bridal shop order,” Emma told him. “So, no.”

Matt frowned. “Not even one?”

Emma snapped a kitchen towel in his direction. “None! Get out of here! You eat too many cupcakes, anyway.”

“Well, maybe I'll go to Alexis's house and see if she'll bake me some,” he said, and then he walked out.

I shook my head. “Actually, she probably would bake him cupcakes,” I said. “Unless she's off doing
something with the business club.” I put down the cupcake I was frosting and stared at Emma. “What's up with Alexis lately, anyway?”

Emma shrugged. “I don't know. I know the business thing is important to her. But it's okay. It's not like she's not working just as hard for the Cupcake Club.”

“That's for sure,” I agreed. “I guess that's why I wish she was going to be at the talent show with us. She's our rock!”

“Yeah, I'm nervous too,” Emma said. “We're still meeting Sunday night to figure out what we're baking for the show, right?”

“Right,” I said. “I even wrote it on our new calendar.”

It didn't take long to finish the mini cupcakes. Mom picked me up at around nine.

“So, when does our weekend with Jeff and Emily begin?” I asked.

“Tomorrow morning,” Mom said. “We're all going for a run together.”

That didn't sound too bad. I liked to run, especially if we went around the track in the town park. But the next morning, Mom drove us down to the park by the river.

“What are we doing here?” I asked.

“Emily and Jeff like to run here,” Mom said. “I said we'd try it.”

“But we have tried it, and we didn't like it,” I reminded her. “The river smells all . . . fishy and stuff. And the track is just a boring, straight line.”

“We can try something new for a change,” Mom said cheerfully, getting out of the car. But her voice was fake cheerful. Maybe someone else wouldn't be able to tell, but I could.

“But this path isn't new to us,” I pointed out. “We
it. We didn't like it.”

“There they are!” Mom said, waving at Jeff and Emily, who were jogging toward us. Then she ran off to join them, ignoring my last comment.

I wasn't about to let them get ahead of me, so I quickly caught up. We jogged all the way down the straight, boring path and then all the way back to the parking lot.

“Wow, that was great!” Jeff said, bending over to catch his breath. “And it's such a beautiful morning.”

“You said it,” Mom agreed. “We'll meet you at the diner in a half hour, okay?”

“You got it,” Jeff said, and then he kissed Mom on the cheek.

“A half hour?” I asked. “I'm starving.”

“We should each take a quick shower,” Mom said. “We're going to the mall after the diner.”

“The mall? For what?” I asked.

“Emily needs some new school clothes, and Jeff asked if we would help pick them out,” Mom said. “Her mom's been out of town a lot lately and hasn't had time to take her shopping.”

I groaned. I hated clothes shopping. I went with Mia sometimes only because I knew she loved it, and at least Mia was fun to be around.

Mom sighed. “Katie, I really don't appreciate your attitude lately. We have fun things planned today, I promise you. Just relax and go with the flow, okay?”

There is probably nothing more annoying than having someone tell you to “go with the flow” when you're in a bad mood. I didn't talk for the rest of the drive, and when we got home, I quickly showered, dressed, and went downstairs with my hair wet.

“Are you going like that?” Mom asked. She had kept her hair back in a ponytail so it wouldn't get wet.

BOOK: Katie Starting from Scratch
3.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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