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Authors: Anne-Marie Conway

Polly Plays Her Part

BOOK: Polly Plays Her Part
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About this book

Why has Polly's mum left her to go and live in sunny Spain? When will her new stepmum stop trying to be so nice all the time? What happens when she ignores Dad and goes on the friend2friend website? And, most importantly, can she learn her lines in time for Star Makers' fab new production?

A warm, witty story about fun and friendship at the Star Makers Drama Club – a special place where everyone has their moment to shine!

For Callum and Freddy — my two brilliant boys!

Contents

1 A New Show

2 Mum's News

3 First Session Back

4 Marc or Marcia?

5 Beanie-bear, Boo, to the Rescue

6 What Would Scooby Doo?

7 And the Part of Marcia Goes to…

8 Telling Mum

9 My Perfect Friend

10 First Proper Rehearsal

11 The Emerald Room

12 Waltzing with Monty B

13 Mandy Calls Dad

14 The Ballroom Dance

15 Hit and Run

16 Diane to the Rescue

17 A Night Round at Phoebe's

18 Too Late

19 The Final Step!

20 Convincing Mandy

21 Dad Finds Out

22 Playing My Part At Last

A note from the author, Anne-Marie

More sparkly Star Makers Club stories

More Usborne fiction

“My
name is Polly and I'm here today, to say my name in a rapping way!

That's one of the games we play at Star Makers – the drama club I go to on Saturdays. It's called the rapping name-game and it's really cool, but if I was playing it right now I'd change the words and say:

“My
name is Polly and I'm here tonight, sleeping at my dad's and ready for a fight!

I didn't want to sleep at Dad's. But I didn't want to sleep at Mum's either. Maybe I could sleep somewhere in the middle, like at number 19. I swear no one believes me when I tell them that my mum and dad live only seven houses away from each other – Dad and Diane at number 11 and Mum at number 25. Seven houses – or fifteen giant strides – or forty-eight
pigeon steps
(where you put one foot down exactly in front of the other, heel touching toe).

So I was sleeping round at Dad's. Or
not
sleeping as the case may be. It was impossible to get to sleep because the stupid baby was crying. Dad's
new
baby. Except he wasn't crying any more, he was screaming. It was so loud, Mum could probably hear him down the road at hers.


Diane! I can't find his dummy!
” Dad hissed from their bedroom. “
You know I'll never settle him without his dummy.

I heard Diane get up and shuffle around the bed to the cot.


Hang on a sec, Simon, I'll find it.

The screaming got louder. I could imagine the baby's face screwed up like an old tissue.


Here it is, Jakey-boy,
” said Diane, in her soppy
talking to the baby
voice. And the screaming stopped.

“It's like magic, you know,” said Dad, yawning. “It's just like waving a magic wand.”

I lay in bed for a bit longer, as the house grew quiet again, thinking about the magic wand
I'd
like to wave – the one that would get rid of Diane and
Jakey-boy
for good. After a bit, when I was sure Dad and Diane were asleep, I got up and turned on my new laptop. Dad bought me the laptop when he moved in here. It was supposed to make everything okay – leaving Mum, moving in with Diane, having a new baby. Like getting a new computer could make up for all of that!

The screen glowed in the dark as I pulled on an old sweatshirt and sat down ready to tap in my secret password. There were all sorts of sites Dad had forbidden me from going on, particularly social networking sites, but I wasn't that bothered about chatting to a bunch of strangers anyway. I searched around for a bit until I found this game called
THWACKERS,
where you have to eliminate the bad guys before they eliminate you. I played for ages and by the time I logged off my score was so high I was third on the leader board.


WELL DONE,
” the computer flashed. “
YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY ELIMINATED ALL YOUR ENEMIES!

Diane was making pancakes when I went down in the morning. Dad had told her once that I love pancakes and ever since then she makes them whenever I stay over.

“Morning, Polly,” said Dad. “You look shattered. I hope Jakey didn't wake you. He couldn't find his dummy.”

Jake was propped up in his highchair. As soon as he saw me he started to bang his plastic spoon on the tray and then he flung it on the floor and reached his arms out. He does that whenever anyone walks in, so it's not as if he was especially happy to see
me
or anything.

“I'm going home to Mum's straight after breakfast,” I said, sitting as far away from Jake and his sloppy breakfast as I could get. “She's taking me out to get new school shoes.”

Dad glanced at Diane. “She didn't say anything about that,” he said, frowning. “We were going to go down to the park later. Jakey's really looking forward to it, aren't you, Jakey?” He put his face right into Jake's and gave him a big slobbery kiss. Jake squealed in delight and banged his spoon even harder.

“He's only eight months old, Dad. I don't think he understands stuff like,
looking forward to things.
And anyway, I'm too old to
play
in the park.”

“He looks forward to seeing
you,
Polly,” said Diane, handing me a plate piled high with pancakes. “His eyes light up every time you walk in the room. You must've noticed. We
all
look forward to it,” she added. “Don't we, Simon?” Dad nodded but he didn't take his eyes off Jake, not for a second.

Diane's always saying nice things like that to try and get me to like her. Honestly, it's desperate. She goes on and on about my green eyes as if they're really special – and she says other stupid stuff like, “You're lucky being so slim, Polly,” and, “Oh, I'd love to have black hair like yours, it's
so
dramatic!” She's really young – years younger than Mum – and she's got this crazy idea that we're going to end up best friends or something.

“I don't actually like pancakes any more,” I said, pushing my plate away. “Can I have some cereal?”

Diane sighed and passed my pancakes across to Dad. I knew I was being stroppy but I didn't care. I'm always stroppy round at Dad and Diane's;
looking for a fight,
Dad says – but it's not like
I
started it!

I walked back home very slowly.
Pigeon steps –
heel to toe, heel to toe. I passed number 13, then 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23. All the odd numbers. Maybe if we lived on the other side of the road where all the numbers were even my
life
might be a bit more even. I mean, everyone knows how totally
odd
it is to fall in love with someone who lives in the same street as you.

“Have you heard about Polly Carter's dad?” all the neighbours were saying when it happened. “He's only gone and moved in with Diane at number 11!”

I hung about outside Mum's for as long as I could. We weren't really going to get new school shoes – I just couldn't face spending the day with Dad and Diane. And I'm not too old to go to the park either; I'm only in Year Seven. It's just that whenever we go anywhere together, me, Dad, Diane and the baby, I know people are staring at us and whispering behind their hands.

“Poor Polly,” they're probably saying. “Pushed aside to make way for
The Great Baby Jake.

Suddenly the front door flew open and Mum came charging down the path.

“Hey, watch it!” I yelled, jumping out of the way just in time.

“Polly! What on earth are you doing here? You scared me half to death.”

She was dressed up really smart in a dark-grey suit and high heels and she'd blow-dried her hair.

“You're supposed to be over at your dad's, aren't you? Oh never mind – listen, I can't stop. Make yourself something for lunch and I'll see you later.”

She swept past me, her hair flying out behind her. I watched her all the way to the top of the road to see if she'd look back and wave or something, but she shot round the corner and disappeared. It was totally weird to see her all glammed up and rushing off so early in the morning. She's hardly been out since Dad left. She spends most of the time cleaning the house; scrubbing away for hours on end. And
I
spend most of the time tiptoeing around her as quietly as I can – doing my best to keep out the way.

It was almost the end of the Easter holidays and I felt as if I'd spent the whole break going up and down the road from Mum's to Dad's and back again. I let myself in and a massive ball of brown fur came hurtling down the stairs to greet me.

“Hello, Cosmo,” I said, picking up my long-haired tabby cat. “At least
you're
pleased to see me.” Cosmo snuggled into my arms and we walked down the hall towards the kitchen.

I stopped dead in the doorway, staring. The kitchen was a total mess. I'd only been gone for one night but it looked as if Mum hadn't cleared up for a year. There were plates piled up everywhere with bits of dried food and empty wine glasses all over the place. There was even a half-full bottle of champagne. I didn't remember her saying anything about a party, but it looked as if she'd had loads of people round. I'd never seen the kitchen in such a state.

I set about clearing up. Mum would only have a go if I left it. I spent ages sorting out the glasses and stacking all the dishes in the sink. I was just about to start washing up when the doorbell rang. I thought it might be Mum for a minute – that maybe she'd forgotten her keys – but it was the postman.

“Hello, love. Sign for this would you, pet?”

He thrust an important-looking letter at me addressed to Mum. I scribbled my name where he pointed and went back inside. I had a quick look through the rest of the mail and saw there was one letter for me – the letter I'd been waiting for
all
holiday! I left Mum's post by the front door and sat down with Cosmo at the bottom of the stairs to open mine.

It was from Mandy Howell, my Year Seven form teacher, who runs Star Makers. She'd promised she was going to write to us while we were off school, but the days had trickled by with no sign of a letter. It was such a relief to see her funky handwriting on the envelope, full of twirls and curls. There were two sheets of paper inside; one addressed to Mum with all the boring details and one addressed to me. I read my one out loud to Cosmo.

Star Makers Drama Club

Dear Polly,

I hope you're having a fab holiday eating your way through a huge pile of Easter eggs! We've got a really exciting term coming up at Star Makers because it's time for a brand-new show!

Ever wondered what it would be like to be trapped inside your own computer with only a bunch of nasty viruses for company? Well you're about to find out when we start our new musical, CRASH!

There are loads of great parts, brilliant songs and dances, and we'll also be making some fantastic costumes and props.

Term starts next Saturday, 15th April. Same time – same place.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Mandy xxx

BOOK: Polly Plays Her Part
7.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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