BEST. PARTY. EVER.
I’m pretty sure being twelve will be my most fabulous age yet, even though there are still three days until my actual birthday.
“Hey, Ruby.” Sophie holds up an empty bowl. “Got any more of these awesome chips?”
“Of course.” I take the chip bowl and flash Sophie my brightest BFF smile. She smiles back. It’s kinda weird how she looks right past me, like she’s looking for someone else, but whatever. Sophie’s been my best friend all year, ever since we started middle school. We like the same books, the same movies, and we’re both totally in love with the color orange. I mean, how many people truly love the color orange? It’s fate. I’m sure of it.
I weave in and out of a sea of friends, chip bowl in hand. Someone turns the music up, and dancing and laughing fill the room. I walk just a little bit taller as I realize that all these people are here for me—to celebrate my birthday, the first real birthday party I’ve ever had.
Someone brushes against my arm as I walk by, and the chip bowl wobbles in my hands when I see who it is.
“Where ya going?” Damon’s big brown laser-beam eyes stare right at me, and I think I might pass out—right here at my own birthday party.
“Uhh, chips.” I hold up the empty bowl.
“Cool.” He nods and gives me his famous Damon Gorman smile, perfect with bright white teeth and deep dazzling dimples. He stares at me a couple of seconds longer and then turns away.
I’m still standing there, knees shaking and palms sweating. Uhhhh, chips. Real cool, Ruby. Real cool. For six months I’ve been dying to talk to Damon Gorman, and those are the bewitching words that sprout from my mouth.
I practically fly down the marble staircase. Seriously, I don’t feel my feet touching the floor. It’s a good thing, too, since we have a lot of stairs. Thirty-eight to be exact. I want to get down to the kitchen as quickly as possible so I can get back up to the party room.
Ellie is in the kitchen with a few other people who work
at our house. She turns the water off and wipes her hands on a dish towel as I come in.
“What do you need, Bea?” Everyone in my family calls me Bea, because when I was little I couldn’t pronounce Ruby. Ellie says Ruby especially funny, since she rolls her r’s. Some of my friends have a hard time understanding her, but since Ellie’s been with our family since I was a baby, I’m used to her Russian accent.
I hold up the bowl. “More chips, please.”
She takes the chip bowl from my hand and fills it up. “Here you go, bubela.”
“Thanks, Ellie.” I skip out of the kitchen. “You’re the best!”
I head back up the stairs, slowly now that chips are spilling out over the top of the bowl, and toward the party room. It’s supposed to be a library, but since my parents are too busy to read much, they use it for entertaining. The room opens up to a really big deck that overlooks the beach, so guests seem to like it. The music is lower now, and my friends have divided into little groups. Some are at the food table, where I drop off the bowl of chips, some are messing around with their iPhones, and some are out on the deck. I spot Sophie out there with a bunch of other people and notice that Damon is one of them. I floof up my hair and open the double doors that lead outside. Sophie and Damon are standing closest to the doors, their backs toward me.
“I don’t think they’re here tonight,” Sophie says to Damon.
“Have you ever met them?” Damon asks.
“No. I’ve only seen them from a distance, when they came for parent-teacher conferences. It’s driving me crazy! I mean, how long do I have to act like Ruby’s best friend?”
Damon shrugs. “She’s not all that bad. She throws good parties.”
“Sure, but other than that she’s dullsville. For six months I’ve been bored out of my mind, waiting to meet them. Plus, how much more orange can I possibly wear? I look awful in orange. Everybody looks awful in orange.”
I can’t breathe.
“I wouldn’t mind meeting Zack. He could get me World Series tickets.” Damon winks.
Sophie gives Damon a push. “Forget him! What about her? If she met me, she’d see I’ve totally got what it takes to be a supermodel. Couldn’t you see me on next season’s America’s Next Cover Model??? Lots of supermodels go on to be movie stars, too, you know, which of course is my ultimate goal.”
Tears prick my eyes, and I blink hard.
“Well, they’ve got to show up sometime,” Sophie says. “But maybe they think their daughter is as lame as I do. She stinks at sports. And she’s not even that cute. I mean, how
can you have a star baseball player as a dad and a supermodel as a mom and be so—talentless?”
I can’t stop the tears now. They’re streaming down my face. I’m practically blind as I fling open the double doors, run through the party room, and push my bedroom door open. I hurl myself inside, slam the door shut, and throw myself onto my bed.
Worst. Party. Ever.