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Authors: J. Minter

The Sweetest Thing

BOOK: The Sweetest Thing
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Contents

CHAPTER 1 A WHOLE NEW LOOK

CHAPTER 2 A LUNCH DATE WITH DESTINY

CHAPTER 3 MY GUY

CHAPTER 4 RAH RAH!

CHAPTER 5 WHAT? NO BELLY DANCERS?

CHAPTER 6 THE TWILIGHT ZONE

CHAPTER 7 ICE CREAM SOCIAL

CHAPTER 8 MAKING A BIG DEAL

CHAPTER 9 THE CUTEST THING IN BIO CLASS … AND NO, I DON'T MEAN ADAM

CHAPTER 10 EVERYONE LIKES ADAM—AND I DO MEAN EVERYONE

CHAPTER 11 RULES ARE MADE … TO BE BROKEN

CHAPTER 12 SARA-BETH BENNY AND THE ATTACK OF THE POD PEOPLE

CHAPTER 13 JUST ANOTHER FABULOUS AFTERNOON WITH MY FABULOUS FRIENDS

CHAPTER 14 FUN IN THE SUN

CHAPTER 15 CUPCAKES, COSTUMES, AND CYNTHIA ROWLEY

CHAPTER 16 GETTING IN THE SPIRIT

CHAPTER 17 STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT

CHAPTER 18 TEA AND SYMPATHY

CHAPTER 19 A PERFECT END TO A PERFECT NIGHT

CHAPTER 20 THE GREAT ESCAPE

CHAPTER 21 WHO KNEW THAT PIRATE GIRLS WORE SUCH SHORT SKIRTS?

CHAPTER 22 GUESS WHO'S COMING TO THE PARTY?

CHAPTER 23 SHE'S A RAVEN LUNATIC

CHAPTER 24 DANCING SKELETONS CHEER ME UP, BUT A DANCING SPLEEN MAKES ME LAUGH OUT LOUD

CHAPTER 25 IT'S NOT A PARTY UNTIL THE WHOLE SCHOOL CRASHES

CHAPTER 26 YOU'VE GOT TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS TO FIND YOUR PRINCE

CHAPTER 27 IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN

CHAPTER 28 LOST AND FOUND AND LOST AGAIN

CHAPTER 29 A NEW DEAL

CHAPTER 30 TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY

CHAPTER 31 I FACE THE MUSIC

ALSO BY J. MINTER

for MEREDITH

CHAPTER 1
A WHOLE NEW LOOK

For as long as I can remember, my hair has been exactly the same: blond, straight, and just past my shoulders. Once, when I was feeling rebellious, way back in sixth grade, I tried one of those do-it-yourself temporary highlighting kits that turned my hair a horrible orange color. My older sister, Feb, called me the Human Flame for an entire month after that one. But other than that, it's stayed more or less the same, which was fine when I went to my old private school, Mallard Day. But since I started at Stuyvesant, a huge public high school in New York City, six weeks ago, my whole look, including my hair, seemed kind of … well, boring.

So when my mom gave me a gift certificate to the Zara Friedich Salon in SoHo, it was clearly a sign that I was due for some big changes. My mom went overboard as usual to compensate for her near-total
absenteeism and made the gift certificate for three times as much as was necessary, so rather than spend tons of time alone at the salon getting seriously over-pampered, I decided to treat my new friends Judith and Meredith to haircuts as well.

So there we were, sitting in the vaguely applescented salon, when my hair stylist, Monique—a Brooklyn ultra-hipster whose choppy black hair made me feel doubly plain—asked me what I wanted. And that's when I finally decided to quit being cautious and just take the plunge.

“Surprise me.”

“Surprise you? Really?” she asked, raising one eyebrow. “The last woman who told me to do that started weeping the moment I finished blow-drying her. Of course, maybe I shouldn't have given a forty-five-year-old hedge-fund manager pink streaks.”

On either side of me, Meredith and Judith exchanged nervous glances. I felt an excited flutter in my stomach as I twisted a few damp blond locks around my forefinger. “Do it. I'm ready for a change.”

“You won't sue me?”

“Nope. Just do whatever you think would look good,” I told her.

Monique smiled and turned up Fall Out Boy. “Okay. If you're sure.”

She parted my still-wet hair and began quickly combing it out. All around us, stylish young women were getting their hair trimmed, clipped, chopped, shaped, and folded into tinfoil. I recognized one girl sitting a few chairs down from us from last weekend's
New York Times Magazine
. The salon had sleek chrome furniture, exposed pipes, and funky oversize lightbulbs that hung down from the ceiling on shiny silver chains. I'd felt so ordinary the minute I stepped inside. But now, as Monique made a series of bold sideways snips, I knew I'd come to the perfect place to discover the new me.

“Wow, Flan,” Judith whispered as her own stylist trimmed her split ends. “I can't believe you're just letting her choose. You might not even recognize yourself. Are you sure … ?” Her eyes widened as a thick chunk of my hair tumbled down to the floor.

Judith is a great friend, but she worries way too much. According to Meredith, who's gone to school with her since kindergarten, Judith's been an over-achiever since the age of six. Apparently she got the second-highest grade on a definitions test and vowed never to let that happen again. She has long blond hair that she likes to flip back over her shoulders when she's making a point in conversation or in an argument for Debate Club, and I can't imagine her ever
cutting it off. The thought filled me with a little swell of pride for my daring move.

“Won't Bennett be upset?” she added, as her stylist tilted her head forward so she could fret over her ends.

“I doubt it,” I said. Bennett, my boyfriend, is pretty laid-back. We hang out most days after school, and sometimes on weekends, but that day he had a special meeting for the school paper, the
Stuyvesant Spectator
, which he worked on with his friends.

“Oh, come on, Judith,” said Meredith. Her damp, dark hair hung in waves down her back. “Guys never notice haircuts. Besides, Flan's making a statement.” She smiled at me encouragingly. “Someday I'm going to cut my hair really, really short and then just wear a different wig every day to suit my mood. How fun would that be? I'd have a hipster mullet on Monday, and then on Tuesday I'd have one of those fifties beehives that's shaped like a tornado. For days when I have art class, I could wear one of those long, flowy Rapunzel wigs.” She frowned. “Although it might get in my oil paints—which is not exactly the kind of ‘hairbrush' I like using.”

I laughed. Meredith has light brown hair that she usually wears in a ponytail, but I could imagine her doing something crazy like that. Her sense of style
and fashion ran in her family. Her mom and grandma own a really cute clothing boutique just down the street from where we were getting our hair cut. The first time I met Meredith, she was wearing a skirt made out of men's ties. That afternoon, she had on a cut-up T-shirt from the '80s with a picture of Blondie on it, and a bunch of chunky bangle bracelets in different colors. She's really into art and photography and poetry, too. She and Judith are so different, it's hard to believe they've been best friends since forever. But I guess best friends don't have to be alike—they just have to get along, and Meredith and Judith go together like strawberries and chocolate. I fit in pretty well with them too. I'd been really lucky to meet such cool people right at the beginning of high school.

“Anyway,” Meredith went on, “even if he does notice, Bennett is so into Flan that he won't care. She could come back with a Mohawk, and he'd still be like …” Meredith feigned a love-struck expression that caused Judith to shriek with laughter. I blushed.

“Oh, come on, you guys,” I said.

“No, Flan, it's really true,” Judith agreed. “Bennett's such a great guy. Most of the boys from our school have no clue how to talk to girls!” She made a face. “Kelvin, from biology, was trying to flirt with me the
other day. First he told me a dirty joke about USB ports. And then he talked to me about some computer game for twenty minutes while I was trying to finish our lab report. And I said, ‘Like I care,' and he kept saying, ‘I know!' and then I finally realized he thought I meant I
did
care!”

“Wait. Kelvin—you mean that guy who wheezes when he laughs?” Meredith asked as her stylist spritzed her hair with papaya-scented leave-in conditioner.

Judith sighed. “That's the one. Did I tell you we're lab partners now?”

“Oh no!”

While the two of them went on about Kelvin's creepiness, I found myself thinking about Bennett again. Bennett is older than us—a sophomore—and he's into all kinds of interesting stuff: he reads J. D. Salinger short stories and
Thrasher
magazine and all the latest Tokyopop graphic novels, and always has really well thought out opinions about stuff like why the latest Tarantino movie failed. Unlike clueless boys like Kelvin, Bennett actually talks to me in a way that makes him seem like a friend. He's a great guy to study with and always comes up with the cutest ways to remember names and dates for history class. One time when I was cramming for an algebra test, he
made me a whole stack of flash cards with equations on them, and then tied them together with an orange ribbon and a fuzzy, dog-shaped charm that looked just like my Pomeranian, Noodles. Plus, he's adorable. I mean, seriously, he even has dimples. How much cuter could you get?

When I came back down to earth, Meredith and Judith had moved on to one of their favorite topics: their ideal guys.

“I just want somebody who's sensitive.” Meredith sighed. A daydreamy look had come into her eyes. “Somebody who believes in truth and beauty—and art. Oh, and books.”

“Someone like … Jules?!” Judith laughed. Meredith had a thing for one of Bennett's friends, which Judith found totally hilarious. Okay, so maybe Jules wasn't the hottest guy I'd ever seen, but he was really tall and nice, and when he told one of his funny stories, he instantly became the life of the party. I always figured he and Meredith would get together, just because they both did their own thing and dressed like no one else at Stuy. Jules wore vintage suit jackets and old Hawaiian shirts, and one time he even wore a fedora complete with a peacock feather to a party.

“Oh no, I'm so over him,” she said with a dismissive
wave of her hand. “Now I've got my eye on someone in my honors freshman English class.”

“Really?” Judith raised her voice over the noise of her stylist's hair-dryer. “When did this happen?”

“Yesterday.” Meredith met my eyes in the salon's mirror. “We were reading Shakespeare's sonnets in class, and when it got to be his turn, Mr. Welninski told him to put feeling into it, and … wow. I've never heard anything so beautiful. It was like the Bard himself was there in the room with us.”

“So what does this bard look like?” Judith inspected the back of her hair in the mirror her stylist had handed her. “That looks great. Can you flatiron it for me, please?”

“Well, this isn't why I like him, of course, but he does happen to be
gorgeous
.”

Judith clapped her hands, and I giggled.

“Seriously. He's got silver moons for eyes. And he's all athletic and chiseled looking—like one of those statues of Hercules from ancient Rome.”

“Who
is
this guy?” I demanded. “I think I'd remember if I saw someone like that walking around Stuy.”

“His name is Adam McGregor.” Meredith shut her eyes blissfully as her stylist started to blow her out, her hair dancing around her face in the warm air.

I don't think Meredith heard Judith gasp over the buzz of the dryer. But I did.

“What's wrong?” I asked her.

Meredith opened her eyes again. Judith was staring at her, a horrified look on her face.

BOOK: The Sweetest Thing
8.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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