Authors: and Khloé Kardashian Kim Kourtney
Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé Kardashian
itting in a café across the street from her family’s restaurant, Kamille Romero sipped her açaí berry smoothie and lifted her face to soak in the sun. It was a deliciously warm day, not too humid for August in L.A. She had spent the afternoon at her favorite spa—not one of those New Age-y spas, but a serious, old-school spa run by a scary-efficient Romanian woman named Bogdana. Kamille’s arms, legs, and bikini still stung from the honey-scented wax. But it was a good kind of pain, and besides, beauty was painful, right? Waxing and tweezing, like dieting, detoxing, and working out, all hurt.
And they all cost money. She’d had to try two different credit cards to pay her bill at Bogdana’s, since it turned out one of them was maxed out. Kamille was going to have to talk to her mother, Kat, about giving her another raise, or at least an advance on her next paycheck. The last time they’d had this not-fun conversation, Kat had actually suggested that Kamille consider cutting back on the weekly spa visits and a few other “luxuries.”
Luxuries, seriously? As far as Kamille was concerned, these were all necessities. Kat herself had taught Kamille and her sisters to take pride in their appearance and maintain a strict grooming ritual, including regular hair removal. Just because they were poor now didn’t mean they had to be furry and ugly, did it?
At least Kamille made an effort. She couldn’t say the same thing about her big sister, Kass, who was naturally pretty but couldn’t be bothered to do much with her appearance. (Kass’s idea of glam was carrying a purse instead of throwing all her stuff into her USC backpack.) Or their baby sister Kyle, who cared more about looking shocking than stylish. (Fishnets and skull chokers were
Kamille’s cell buzzed. She smiled; maybe it was a text from her boyfriend Finn? She hadn’t heard from him all day.
But no, it was a superannoying text from her mother: DOLL, WHERE R U?
Frowning, Kamille typed: MY SHIFT STARTS 430.
Kat replied: NO 4! GET YOUR BUTT IN HERE!
What? Kamille rolled her eyes. Her mom could be such a controlling bitch. Ever since she’d opened the restaurant four years ago, just after their father’s death, she’d put the girls to work. Which was not cool. At age twenty, Kamille was meant for something bigger and better than waitressing or busing tables. She just wasn’t exactly sure what that “something” might be. But her destiny was out there, waiting for her, as sparkly and spectacular as the Kodak Theatre on Oscar Night . . .
Her phone started ringing. The screen lit up: MOM CALLING, along with a picture of Kat in her “Hot Mama” T-shirt.
Kamille hit “ignore call” and flagged down the waitress for another smoothie.
avid Alexander Romero had been a famous film producer. But more important, he had been the most awesome dad in the world.
His sudden death had been terrible enough. Kamille was never going to get over that pain, ever. But a few days after his sailing accident, Kat found out that he had secretly invested the family’s savings with his best friend, who was a big-deal investment banker to the rich and famous. And that the best friend, now officially a major asshole, had been arrested for committing fraud and leaving all his clients broke—including the Romeros.
Everything changed after that. Kat had to sell their lavish mansion in Beverly Hills and move them to a way more modest house in Los Feliz. Kamille was sixteen then; Kass was seventeen; and Kyle was twelve. The designer clothes, the expensive family vacations, the fancy parties . . . all that was in the past. The agents, actors, directors, and other Hollywood A-listers who’d always kowtowed to their father suddenly didn’t seem to know who Kat and the girls were.
Kamille learned an important life lesson then: that money was power, and that no money meant no power. It was a lesson that haunted her to this day and seriously made her want to scream and throw things—at walls, at people.
Kat, to her credit, didn’t curl up and die. Thank God. She used David’s life insurance to buy a defunct restaurant in West Hollywood and turn it into Café Romero. Somehow, miraculously, the restaurant was an immediate success. It didn’t bring back the millions they’d lost, too bad, but at least they weren’t homeless. Although it would have been way better if Kat weren’t using her own children as labor. But, whatever.
The next big change was when Kat married her longtime friend, Beau LeBlanc. Fortunately, Beau—a retired Dodgers pitcher—was a nice guy. Occasionally, he even took Kamille’s side against Kat when she was being insane (which happened a lot—Kamille and Kass had a private joke that “PMS” stood for “Psychotic Mom Syndrome”). Beau’s kids from his previous marriage, Benjamin (aka Benjy) and Brianna (aka Bree), lived with them most of the time, and weren’t
Besides, Kamille and Kass had their own place now, near the family house, so they could come and go as they pleased. And Kass was a great roommate. Sort of. Most of the time.
hen Kamille strolled into Café Romero at 4:35, Kat was going over the evening’s menu with her head chef, Fernando. The late-afternoon sun lit up the distressed-yellow walls that always reminded Kamille of their family vacation to Italy, freshman year of high school. The vases of gerbera daisies looked pretty on the mismatched vintage tables that her mother had rescued from some estate sale in OC.
Kamille glanced at her phone. Nothing. She had texted Finn six times today, and he was still MIA.
Where is he?
she wondered irritably. She wished he was on Twitter so she could spy on him, like she had done with her previous boyfriends (and continued to do sometimes, when she was bored).
“I think we should go with a risotto special,” Kat was saying to Fernando. “Let’s do something with the new morel mushrooms we just got. How about with some asparagus?”
“A morel-and-asparagus risotto, sounds delish,” Fernando agreed. “Let me just check in the kitchen and make sure we have enough stock. I need to get in there and start prepping, anyway.”
“Ask Kass about the stock, she’s back there doing inventory. I think she made a huge batch last night with the leftover roast chicken?”
“My goodness, is there anything that girl can’t do? Hello, angel!” Fernando waved to Kamille. “My, don’t you look to die for in that adorable dress? Versace?”
“No, Dolce and Gabbana,” Kamille replied. “I got it at Barnee’s.” She didn’t explain that it was from Barnee’s (with an
) Consignment Shop on Melrose—not the high-end department store Barneys (with a
). Of course, she’d had to have it dry-cleaned three times before she wore it, to get rid of the previous owner’s lingering BO and cheap, nasty perfume. But she couldn’t afford to be picky. “Hey, is there fresh coffee?” she called out to Kat.
“Do you see a Starbucks sign out front? You’re thirty-five—no, thirty-six minutes late. Can you type up this menu for me, usual format? Then print out a hundred copies?” Her mother waved a piece of paper at her.
“Kyle’s better on the computer,” Kamille grumbled.
“Kyle’s not here yet. She’s even later than you are. Why is it that Kassidy is the only one I can depend on around here?” Kat snapped.
Kamille knotted her fists, stifling several choice swearwords. She was sick-to-death-tired of constantly hearing what a saint Kass was. It had been going on for years, and seriously, who cared? So Kass had been valedictorian in high school. So she was at the top of her class at USC. So she worked long hours at the restaurant, doing everything from waiting tables to organizing the bills to whipping up gourmet fucking chicken stock like some Rachael Ray clone.
Kass was a saint because she had no life. She didn’t date; she claimed she was “too busy.” She hardly ever drank, which meant that she was superboring during girls’ nights out. All she ever did was work and study, study and work. If Kamille did that 24/7, she could be a perfect, overachieving geek, too.
Oh, well. At least there was Kyle, who was even higher on the MSL (aka “Mom’s Shit List”) than Kamille. Usually.
The kitchen door swung open, and Kass wandered out, poring intently over a legal pad.
“Kass, my daffodil, how much chicken stock do we have?” Fernando called out as he passed her on his way into the kitchen.
“For risotto. Entrée-size portions.”
“More than enough. Mom, we’re way low on the gluten-free pasta. I thought you placed an order last week?”
Kat squeezed her eyes shut and began massaging her temples. “Kass, I
can’t deal with the gluten-free pasta crisis right now. I have
biggest headache. And we’re out of the house red. And I need to figure out where in the hell your sister Kyle is. Why am I always having to chase you girls down?” She picked up her phone.
“Let’s just substitute the McManis Merlot, we have like ten cases,” Kass suggested. She came over and gave Kamille a quick hug. “I am so glad to see you,” she whispered. “Not to name names, but
in total, raging PMS mode. And I’m not talking about Fernando.”
Giggling, Kamille hugged Kass back. Her sister could always cheer her up, even if she was one of the reasons Kamille needed cheering up to begin with. “Yeah, I kinda figured. How are you? How was your day? I heard you leave the house at like five
early. But yeah, I wanted to get to the library early to do some reading for my econ class.”
“Um, the semester hasn’t even started yet?”
“Yeah, I know. I just wanted to get a jump on it.”
“Oooo-kay.” Kamille knew better than to question her sister’s crazy study habits. “Hey, what are you doing later? I’m meeting up with Finn”—she snuck a peek at her phone; still no text;
him—“and Simone and this new guy Simone’s dating, Lars. We’re going to this new club.”
“I don’t know. Maybe.” Kass picked up a wineglass from a nearby table and held it up to the light. “You know, I wouldn’t call what Simone does ‘dating.’ That girl is such a slore—honestly, she’s like one giant yeast infection.”
Kamille raised her eyebrows (which were perfectly shaped versus out-of-control fuzzy, like Kass’s). “God, you are such a
! Besides, you’re one to talk. At least she has fun.”
supposed to mean? I have fun!”
“Right, uh-huh. When was the last time you—”
Kat interrupted, her phone still glued to her ear. “Stop fighting and get back to work! We have a lot to do. Kamille, please get on those menus, now! And, Kass, can you help Fernando with the prep? Goddamn it, Kyle, why are you not picking up? Do I have to implant you with a tracking device, already?”
“P-M-S,” Kass whispered to Kamille. They cracked up.
“What’s so funny?” Kat snapped.
“Nothing, Mommy!” Kamille trilled.
“Oh, there’s my friend Pippa on my call waiting. Did I tell you girls that I invited her and her son, Parker, to our next Sunday Night Dinner? Remember Parker, Kass?”
“Oooh, setup! Love connection! Can I be the maid of honor at your wedding?” Kamille crowed, slapping Kass on the butt.
!” Kass yelled.
a setup, I thought it would be nice for Kass and Parker to catch up,” Kat said defensively. “Kyle Elizabeth Romero, this is the last message I’m going to leave you today!” she shouted into the phone. “Haul your ass into the restaurant right this second, or I am grounding you.
Oh, sorry, Pippa, sweetie, I thought that was Kyle’s voice mail. What? What do you mean, you need to get an emergency vaginaplasty?”
“A vagina what? Ew, never mind,” Kass whispered to Kamille. “And what does she mean, it would be nice for me and Parker to catch up? Is she serious?”
“See, Mom thinks you need a life, too,” Kamille teased her.
“If Parker Ashton-Gould is her idea of a ‘life,’ I’d rather go out with you and the giant yeast infection,” Kass retorted. “Just kidding, ha-ha. You know I love you, right? Even though your taste in friends is highly questionable?”
Kamille fake-smiled at Kass. Sometimes she wondered if her sister really
love her. Kass could be so mean, so judgmental, so downright
But maybe that was just how sisters expressed affection?