Table of Contents
DUTTON CHILDREN'S BOOKS
A division of Penguin Young Readers Group
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. â¢ Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) â¢ Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England â¢ Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) â¢ Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) â¢ Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India â¢ Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0745, Auckland, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) â¢ Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa â¢ Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL , England
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of
the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or
dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright Â© 2007 by Susan Colebank Stehl
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or
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The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author
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Published in the United States by Dutton Children's Books,
a member of Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014www.penguin.com/youngreaders
eISBN : 978-1-440-67829-5
who believes in my dreams
GET OFF OF HER!”
Jayne Thompkins felt one of those heart palpitations her grams was always talking about. Her barely teenage sister was under a boy.
A boy who had his hand on the side of her sister's breast.
And her sister was just lying there, taking it like a future pregnant fourteen-year-old.
Jayne closed her eyes for a second, willing this to all go away so she could get out of here and still make it to tennis on time. Which would be good, considering she'd just been made captain. Being on time seemed like a captainlike thing to do.
She took a slow, measured breath. Jayne thought back to her psychology class last semester, to the section that had talked about stress. Stress was a perception. She could choose to be stressed or not.
She opened her eyes. This guy's hand was still squeezing her sister's flesh. Or might as well have been. The Victoria's Secret bra wasn't exactly a deterrent. Not with Ellie's T-shirt bunched up at the head of the bed.
Yep, Jayne felt stressed all right.
The boy with the tanned, shirtless back barely looked up at her. He either hadn't noticed her or he was having too much fun licking Ellie's collarbone in rhythm to the booty call music blaring around them.
Jayne snapped off the CD player and turned back to her sister. That boy hadn't moved an inch.
Then again, neither had Ellie.
Ellie, you're a freakin' idiot. About boys. About grades. About taking your insulin shot.
About life in general.
Ellie should've been watching bad Hilary Duff movies, not letting her boobies get felt up by this schmuck. Jayne was used to her sister's flavor-of-the-week infatuations. But the boobie action going on here? Jayne hadn't even experienced that yet at the ripe old age of sixteen.
wasn't ready for third base, Ellie sure wasn't.
Ellie finally opened her eyes and saw Jayne standing there. Frantically, she pushed at the oblivious ball of hormones panting on top of her. “Danny, get up.”
The guy's lips started working their way down Ellie's chest. “Why?” He laughed as he said the word. “It's just your sister.”
Jayne's blood temperature rose a few degrees. This Abercrombie & Fitch reject didn't seem to appreciate the situation he was in.
“That's right. I'm just her sister.” Jayne gripped his waistband, using the weight of her body to get his private bits off of Ellie's. “But if you don't want to find out firsthand where our mother stashed the bodies of all the other Neanderthals who tried to get statutory with my sister, you better get up.”
Danny was barely upright when Jayne started pushing him, barefoot and shirtless, toward the bedroom door. “Out,” she demanded.
Jayne turned to see Ellie reach blindly behind her and grab her own shirt, pulling it over the C-cups she'd gotten over the past year.
Ellie'd gone from looking scared at being caught with a boy in her room to pissed off. “Does Mom have you spying on me now?”
Jayne stopped mid-push. Yeah, in between studying thirty hours a week and spending what felt like every non-sleeping minute building up her college rÃ©sumÃ©, she was spying on Ellie for the fun of it. “Don't be a jerk. I forgot my tennis shoes this morning and was just heading upstairs to get them. But then I heard a bunch of giggling in here, Chuckles.”
A blush tinged Ellie's cheeks. “Oh.”
Jayne found herself leaning her full weight against Danny, but he had come to a standstill. “I'm not going out there like this,” he said, pointing at his bare chest, his tiny pubescent nipples the size of peas.
Jayne looked at the Hello Kitty clock on Ellie's dresser. Jayne was a practical girl, if nothing else. She was also a girl who knew the value of deadlines. “You have one minute to find everything you brought with you or else it goes into the next Thompkins garage sale.”
Danny started picking up his discarded clothes. Progress, finally. But he stopped when he saw Jayne following two steps behind him. “Do you mind? I can dress myself.”
“That remains to be seen.” She forced herself to stand still. Stalking the half-naked guy definitely wasn't going to get him to move faster.
She lifted the flap of her messenger bag she'd come in with and pulled out a folder. “When I was at the career center today, I saw something you might be interested in.”
Ellie crossed her arms, creating two inches of cleavage. “I already told you, I'm not going to college. I'm not some sheep thatâ”
“âthat needs to follow the herd. So you've told me a bajillion times. But this is different.” Jayne sat down next to Ellie, opened the folder, and dropped a stapled packet in her sister's lap. “The Fashion Institute of Technology's having a contest open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.”
Ellie shrugged. But she started flipping through the pages. “I don't need a stinking fashion college in order to break into fashion. Gianni Versace didn't go to one. Coco Chanel didn't either.”
“But Calvin Klein went to FIT.”
Ellie made a farting sound with her mouth. “He's totally commercial. And uninspired.”
“Michael Kors did, too. I've heard you say you think he's genius.”
Again, Jayne felt Ellie's shoulders move. But her sister kept turning the pages, which was a good sign. Anything that made Ellie think about a life that extended beyond boys, the mall, and the next party was a good thing.
The bathroom door shut. Ellie's make-out boy had just gone behind it.
Jayne felt her head wrinkle up. She called out, “You better pee fast, pretty boy. I don't have all day.”
Normally, Jayne didn't like confrontations. But then again, these last few minutes hadn't been too normal. She started jiggling her leg. If their mom caught this guy here . . . But why would she? She was at the studio, getting ready for the six o'clock news.
“Anyway, the ten-thousand-dollar prize money FIT is offering is free and clear.” Jayne tightened her ponytail, her leg still going at it like jackhammer. Once she got that guy out of here, she might actually make it to tennis on time. “You don't have to get a degree at their school or anything. You just have to design a twenty-piece collection, sew up one outfit, and turn in everything by August first.”
“That's four months from now.” Ellie's voice rose a couple of octaves, but her eyes were bright. Jayne knew she'd hooked her.
“Elle, I've been wearing your stuff since you made your first cut-up, tie-dyed, hand-painted T-shirt at age eight. You totally have a chance.”
Ellie looked at Jayne, the pissiness gone from her clear blue eyes. Eyes she'd gotten from their dad, while Jayne had gotten the boring hazel-green eyes their mom had. As with everything in life, Ellie had managed to come out on top even in the genes department.
Sure, Jayne Lee Thompkins had made out in the brains department. But it might've been fun to be the cute, irresponsible one for once.
Jayne crossed her arms, her hands encircling the hard biceps she'd built up over the last ten years of tennis clinics. She leaned against Ellie and teased, “Then again, if I'd known you were getting felt up today, I would've left school earlier and headed over to Walgreens to buy you a box of Trojans.”
“Awesome.” Danny stood at the bathroom door, his backpack slung over a shoulder. His shirt and shoes were on, and he was tucking his blond hair behind his ears. The ends flipped out like a girl's bob.
“I was joking, jerkwad.” After a quick glare in the guy's direction, she turned back to Ellie and the packet of papers she was still flipping through. “Just think about it, okay? You win the contest, you get the money,
you get to go to FIT for six weeks next summer. In New York. Where all your idols live.” Jayne waved a hand around the room at the fashion ads Ellie had been tearing out of
for the last six years.