Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER 1 Excuse Me
Wow!” Katani exclaimed, taking in the scene at the Museum of Science. Flashing disco lights and blaring music had transformed the museum into party central.
“Unbelievable!” Isabel said with awe as the girls stepped under an enormous rainbow made entirely of black, red, and silver balloons. “Henry totally deserves a nice party, but this . . .” Isabel ducked as a paper airplane decorated with streamers went sailing past her head. Henry Yurt whistled and waved from a crowded video arcade room. A goofy crown on his head read “BAR MITZVAH BOY.”
“OMG!” Maeve yelped as she dodged the airplane, and, of course, Avery caught it.
“Yurtmeister!” Avery was about to throw the airplane back at him, but Katani grabbed her arm.
“Wait, it says ‘look inside’ on the wings!”
Unfolding it, they discovered a map with all the night’s activities. There were directions to the lightning show, the Omni Theater, the butterfly garden, and the monkey habitat—and those were just the museum’s regular activities. Then there was the gaming arcade, the photo booth, and more.
“Everything fits into a science theme—even the food!” Avery pointed to the dinner menu at the bottom of the paper: astroburgers and space fries with galaxy smoothies or stardust sodas to drink.
“Hey, Maeve, there’s dancing later!” Isabel nudged her friend, who was being unusually quiet for such an exciting occasion. The DJ was mixing in another room, but everyone could hear the hottest dance tunes echoing through the lobby.
“Who knew science could be so romantic?” Maeve gushed absently as she fingered one of the floral bouquets lining the entryway. Her own Bat Mitzvah and thirteenth birthday were only two weeks away, on May 9. Maeve pinched her pink glossed lips together and tried to ignore the fact that she was wearing the world’s worst dress, an early birthday gift from her great-grandmother. I’ll have roses, all in pink. Or maybe white and yellow, too. Those are perfect spring colors. . . .
“Where’s Charlotte?” Isabel asked. “Anyone heard from her?”
The Beacon Street Girls had planned to arrive at the party together, but Charlotte called at the last second to say something had come up, and she’d be there ASAP.
“I’m sure she’ll be here soon,” Katani assured her friends as she led the pack toward what normally would have been the museum’s information desk. A man in a black tuxedo and a red bow tie was standing behind the desk, handing out little cards to a line of Henry’s friends and family.
“The best part about this is there won’t be a test on the exhibits tomorrow,” Avery said with a small laugh.
“Ahem.” A deep voice sounded from behind the girls. “Name three reasons Pluto is no longer considered a planet.”
Avery flipped around to find Mr. Moore, their science teacher, standing directly behind them in line.
“Wait! I know this one!” Katani crossed her arms and tapped her foot, stalling for time.
Mr. Moore began to laugh. “I’m just fooling with you.” He grinned widely. “No school tonight.” The science teacher was a short man with wild brown hair. Tonight he was wearing a black-and-white cow-spotted tie with a Star Wars pin. He was strange and nutty and a whole lot of fun.
“What do you mean, ‘no school’” Ms. O’Reilly turned around from farther up in the line. “I’m taking notes for a quiz on teen party trends first thing Monday. Looks like goofy crowns and paper airplanes are in.” The social studies teacher winked.
“Did Henry invite all the teachers?” Avery whispered. The Yurtmeister often acted more like a class clown than a class president. . . . But he had obviously taken his duties as chief executive seriously and invited the entire school!
Ms. O’Reilly got her card and gave the girls a last wave. “You all look wonderful! I hope you have a good time.”
“I do not look wonderful.” Maeve rolled her eyes. “I still can’t believe Mom talked me into wearing this.”
“You should have called me ahead of time,” Katani chided. “I could have done something about those bows. And maybe hemmed it a little.”
“No offense, Katani,” Maeve mumbled, “but I don’t think even your design genius could ever make this thing fashionable.”
The lavender tank dress was a shocker to everyone who knew Maeve. It was covered with boring, pale purple flowers and oddly placed white bows, with not even a hint of glitter or pink, her signature shade. Pink is the only color I will ever wear when I’m a famous movie star, setting trends and making my own rules!Maeve decided.
Maeve had spilled the entire dress saga to her best friends when they’d met up outside the party. It was either wear great-grandma’s surprise birthday gift tonight or wear it for her own Bat Mitzvah. They all agreed, wearing it tonight was definitely the lesser of two evils!
Isabel squeezed Maeve’s hand as the line moved forward. “It’s okay, Maeve. You look maravilloso in everything!”
“And Great-grandma Gigi will be overjoyed when I show her this picture!” Maeve whipped a digital camera out of her purse and held it up to snap a picture of herself in the horrid dress. Giggling, the friends checked out the preview screen. “I’ll get a new dress for my own mega Bat Mitzvah bash!” Maeve announced suddenly. “One worthy of a future movie star!”
Katani looked at Maeve sideways. “I thought you were just having a small—owww!” Katani yelped as Maeve’s strappy white sandal landed firmly on top of her gold slip-on. Maeve’s dress might have been terrible, but at least her shoes were stunning.
“Oh, I am so sorry.” Maeve placed one hand delicately over her mouth, checking to be sure Katani was all right.
“I’m okay.” Katani stared inquisitively at Maeve, who obviously didn’t want to talk about her family’s plans for a small luncheon after her Bat Mitzvah.
“Of course I’m having a big party,” Maeve said with a flourish of her hand. “A really humongo-gigantic party.” She paused for a brief second, then added, “With a movie star theme.”
“Next,” called the tuxedoed man at the information counter, before Katani could ask, “How?”
Avery rushed up to the desk. “Hi. I’m Avery Madden.” The man looked through his stack of cards and handed her one.
“Table twelve,” Avery announced. The other girls got their cards and were thrilled to discover they were all sitting together.
“Let’s get Charlotte’s table card, too,” Isabel suggested.
“Thanks, but I can get it myself!” Charlotte said, rushing up to join her friends. She took her card from the attendant. “Awesome, table twelve. And you guys’ll never guess —”
“Party tiiiiiiime!” A whole slew of seventh graders barged through the big glass doors, pushed one another under the balloon rainbow, and piled into the back of the line.
“Dudes, what up?!” Dillon popped Avery a casual knuckle butt.
Charlotte stood there with her mouth hanging open, waiting for an opening to finish her sentence, but she didn’t get a chance.
“Hi,” Betsy and Danny greeted the BSG.
“Do you think the natural history exhibit is open?” Betsy asked nobody in particular.
“I hear you can categorize specimens there,” Danny continued as the two class brainiacs got in the back of the card line.
“Where have you been?” Katani asked Charlotte.
“Well, I—,” Charlotte began.
“Isn’t this fab?” Maeve trilled. “I can’t wait for my own party!”
“Your what?” Charlotte looked from Maeve’s sparkling eyes to her less-than-sparkling dress. Obviously, I’ve missed a lot being just a few minutes late! Charlotte smiled. But before she figured out what was going on with Maeve, she had something really, really important to share! “Guys, I was late because—”
“Isabel! There you are.” Chelsea Briggs walked in from the exhibit halls, carrying her camera. “Take a look at this shot I got of the dance scene!” Before Charlotte could say another word, Isabel scooted away. Charlotte wanted the BSG to be together when she shared her wonderful news. Something this BIG has to be shared with all my BFFs, all at once!
The crowd carried them past the information desk and into what were normally exhibit halls. There, black, red, and silver balloons and streamers adorned a row of booths, each of which were crowded full of people. Isabel bounced over, clapping her hands with excitement.
“There’s a place to decorate T-shirts! Come on, we can make matching ones!”
“Guys, can we go over there for just a sec?” Charlotte pointed to a relatively empty corner.
“Whatever for?” Maeve stared quizzically at the empty spot.
“Because, there’s something important I wanted to—”
“Wait up!” Dillon called out as he came running over, trailed by Riley and Nick.
“‘Sup?” Riley asked the girls, blushing when Maeve sidled over to stand next to him. Everyone at school knew he had a huge crush on her. Riley was incredibly brave and outgoing when he was onstage playing his guitar, but in person he was very shy. Riley’s face turned totally red when he said, “Hi, Maeve.”
Maeve flashed her famous movie star smile and curtsied. Her awful dress didn’t seem to bother Riley one little bit! “Pleasant evening, isn’t it, gentlemen?”
“You’re sooo weird.” Dillon grinned crookedly at Maeve.
Charlotte had hoped to tell her friends alone, but it looked like she wasn’t going to get a chance. “So what I wanted to say was—,” she started.
Just then, Nick Montoya gave Charlotte’s hand a squeeze. He let go after a second, but Charlotte felt her hand still tingling. She and Nick had had this weird thing going ever since a magical kiss after the Valentine’s Day dance. He wasn’t her boyfriend, but he was . . . special.
“What did you want to say?” Katani asked.
“Ummm . . .” Charlotte’s mind had gone completely blank! All she could think about was how warm Nick’s hand had been.
By the time she caught a hold of her thoughts, Dillon was going on and on about how they all had to check out the arcade room. “I got the all-time high score on Acid Blast, and Riley wiped the floor with Nick at Astro-Pong.”
“Yeah, but I crushed you at foosball,” Nick boasted.
“So now we’re off to the Theater of Electricity to check out the DJ,” Riley added.
“Wanna come?” Dillon asked.
“I need—,” Charlotte began, but once more she was interrupted.
“Hey, dudes,” Billy and Josh Trentini cheered as they came over and joined the group, waving their seating cards. “Table twelve all around!”
Charlotte didn’t want to be rude, but her secret was burning up inside her. She glanced at Nick, Riley, the Trentini twins, and Dillon, motioned with her hand, and said, “You guys go on ahead. We’ll meet you in the theater in a few.”
“What’s up, Char?” Isabel asked, sensing that something was going on with her friend.
“Yeah,” said Dillon. “You’re acting almost as weirdowacko as Maeve.”
Maeve tried to step on his foot, but he pulled it out of the way just in time.
“Izzy really wanted to go over to that booth,” Charlotte said, struggling to act as normal as possible. “There’s a graffiti artist over there helping decorate T-shirts.” There was no one else by the T-shirt girl at the moment. It was the perfect place for telling secrets.
“See ya on the dance floor, then,” Dillon told them.
“I’ll go with the boys,” Maeve announced. Riley’s so adorable in that tie! But he’ll have to wear white to my party, Maeve thought. White or light blue.
“Come on, Maeve,” Isabel took her arm and tugged gently. “We’ll catch up with them in a few.”
Reluctantly Maeve sighed and turned back to her friends. “Save a dance for me,” she called after Riley.
While the boys followed Dillon toward the music, Charlotte led the girls past a trivia game room filled with prizes and toward the T-shirt booth.
Once they were out of everyone else’s earshot, Charlotte began fresh. “Okay, so I didn’t really want a shirt.” She paused. “I wanted to get you guys alone because I have something to tell you! You aren’t going to believe it, but—”
“Nice dress, Maeve,” Anna McMasters interrupted in a snooty voice.
“Did your mommy pick it out?” Joline Kaminsky asked, sidling up beside her partner in meanness. Together, the BSG called them the Queens of Mean, or QOM.
“Look at little Maeve-y wavy; her mommy still dresses her!” Anna mocked.
Katani’s eyes flashed with anger as Maeve’s face burned bright red. “Need help?” she asked softly, but Maeve shrugged her away.
“I can handle this,” she whispered. If I’m going to be a big star, I’ll have to deal with the critics. Maeve puffed out her chest and put her hands on her hips, “Classic styles never go out of fashion.”
Katani, known throughout school as a fashion expert, turned to Maeve and asked pointedly, “Didn’t I see Lola Lindstrom wearing those exact same shoes to her red carpet premiere last week?”
“Why, I think you did!” Avery added, getting in on the fun of watching the QOM’s triumphant expressions fade a little. Isabel wrapped her arm around Maeve’s shoulder, and Charlotte stepped in right beside Maeve, giving her best stare-down glare.
Maeve grinned. She had the greatest friends. Really. The best ever.
With a loud grunt, Anna raised her nose and turned to walk away. “Come on, Joline, let’s go find people worth talking to,” she said, and the two of them disappeared in a swirl of matching black taffeta.
“Who made them the fashion police?” Maeve sputtered after the QOM were out of earshot. “I mean, who wears black to a Bar Mitzvah?” Maeve waved one hand in the air. “At my party, there will be a rule: pastel only!”
The BSG laughed, all except for Charlotte, who had missed most of the party talk. “I didn’t know you were having a big party. I thought your parents said no.”
“They’ll come around,” Maeve said assuredly. “My party has to be supermarvtastic! And I need you all to help me. We’ll have decorations and flowers and activities and”—she waved her hands around the redecorated museum—“it will be just like this party . . . only pink!”
Charlotte was happy for Maeve and wanted to help plan the party too, but still hadn’t gotten to share her own news. Yay for Maeve, she thought, but if I don’t get this out soon, my brain’s gonna explode!
“Anyway—,” Charlotte began.
“Oooh! I love this song!” Maeve dashed off toward the Theater of Electricity, where the DJ had just put on the latest hip-hop sensation.
“It’s almost time for dinner!” Katani realized, checking her watch.
I guess it’s just going to have to wait. Charlotte sighed and followed her friends.
The Big News
“These astroburgers are huge!” Avery exclaimed when they got to table twelve. “Yum.”
“I want something fancier to eat at my Bat Mitzvah party,” Maeve remarked. “Maybe something fitting into the movie star theme?”
“Marilyn Monroe Muffins?” Katani suggested with a grin.
“Guys, I—” Charlotte struggled to get a word in to change the subject, but Nick spoke faster.
“Terminator Tacos?” Nick chimed in from the boys’ side of the table.
“Batman Burritos?” the Trentini twins suggested at the exact same time.
Charlotte couldn’t wait anymore. Planning Maeve’s menu might go on forever, and she couldn’t stand keeping her news a secret for even one more second. I’m never going to get a chance to tell the BSG alone, she realized. I’ll have to just blurt it out. But did she have the courage to do it? Right here? Right now?
“Sophie—,” she started.
“Okay, let’s go with that,” Dillon said to his buddies. “How about Sophie Sandwiches?”
“Sophie’s not a—” Charlotte tried to stop the boys and explain who Sophie was, but they kept going. Like a runaway train.
“Sophie Spaghetti!” Billy Trentini snorted.
“No, no . . . Sophie Sundaes!” his twin suggested.
Suddenly a great tune came on from the DJ’s station, and Maeve jumped up. “We’ll work on my theme later. We need to dance. Now!”
Isabel jumped up from her chair too, as Avery started to pull out some of her funky, crazy moves right by the table. “I love this song!”
Everyone was getting up and moving off to the dance floor! It was noisy and chaotic, and Charlotte felt tears of frustration burning against her eyes. If I’m ever going tell the BSG my news, I’ll have to act fast!
Charlotte jumped up on her chair and waved her arms over her head to get her friends’ attention. Once they were looking up at her, she shouted out at the top of her voice, “Sophie Morel is coming to Boston!”
© 2009 B*tween Productions,