Fabulous Five 012 - Katie's Dating Tips

BOOK: Fabulous Five 012 - Katie's Dating Tips
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THE
FABULOUS FIVE #12

KATIE'S DATING TIPS

BETSY HAYNES

A BANTAM SKYLARK
BOOK®

NEW YORK • TORONTO •
LONDON • SYDNEY • AUCKLAND

RL 5, 009-012

KATIE'S DATING TIPS

A Bantam Skylark
Book / September 1989

Skylark Books is a
registered trademark of Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell
Publishing Group, Inc. Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and
elsewhere.

All rights
reserved.

Copyright
©
1989 by Betsy Haynes and James Haynes.

Cover art
copyright
© 1989 by Ralph Amatrudi.

No part of this book
may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means
, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

For information
address: Bantam Books.

ISBN 0-553-15748-5

Published
simultaneously in the United States and Canada

Bantam Books are
published by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing
Group, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words "Bantam Books" and
the portrayal of a rooster
, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, 666 Fifth
Avenue, New York, New York 10103.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA

O             0 9 8 7
6 5 4 3 2 1

For Paula Karl, who
deserves a book dedication all to herself

CHAPTER 1

Katie Shannon floated up the steps to her front porch like a
helium-filled balloon. "I had a
wonderful
time tonight, Tony."

"So did I," said Tony Calcaterra. He nodded and
looked into her eyes. "Big time."

"I really don't know why tonight was so special, but it
was," said Katie. "I mean, the movie was good, but not great. And
Bumpers was fun, but not a blast."

"Maybe the moon's full or you're wearing your lucky
socks," Tony offered with a grin.

Katie slugged him playfully on the arm. "No way,"
she said. "It was more than that. I wish I could explain it."

"Yeah, I know what you mean," said Tony.

A funny look came over his face, and he got quiet for a
moment. Katie had the feeling that he was going to say something else, but just
then a car horn blasted.

"Uh-oh. Gotta go," he said. "I'll see you
Monday at school." Giving her a quick kiss, he raced down the steps toward
the curb, where Mr. Calcaterra sat in the car impatiently revving the engine.

Katie watched Tony climb into the front seat beside his dad
and wave to her when the car pulled away. Sighing, she drifted into the house.
She was glad that none of her friends in The Fabulous Five could see her now.
She had always criticized them for being too interested in boys—especially
Melanie Edwards, the most boy-crazy girl in the universe—and not concerned
enough about important things such as justice and equality for women. Boys
weren't worth it, she had argued. They were shallow and immature.

But Tony Calcaterra is different, she assured herself. He
isn't just another stupid boy. He's interested in a lot of things, and he knows
how to stand up for the things he cares about. Besides that . . .

"Goodness, Katie. You look as if you're on cloud nine."

Katie jumped as though she had been pricked with a pin and
then blushed when she realized it was her mother who had spoken. Willie Shannon
was snuggled comfortably into one corner of the sofa with her feet tucked under
her, looking as much like Katie's older sister as her mother. Both had curly
red hair, a dusting of cinnamon freckles across their noses, and slim figures,
and tonight Willie was wearing an ancient blue chenille bathrobe and drinking a
mug of cocoa. Libber, the yellow cat the Shannons had taken in a few months
before, was curled up beside her.

"Oh, hi, Mom," Katie said. "Tony and I had a
super time. The movie wasn't that hot and neither was Bumpers, but we had fun
anyway."

Willie smiled, but there was a faraway look in her eyes. "I
understand," she said. "It's always fun when you're with someone
special."

"So, what did you do all evening?" Katie asked
brightly, noticing for the first time that the television was on and that her
mother was in the middle of watching an old black-and-white movie. Wasn't there
anything on better than that? she wondered.

Willie shrugged. "A little laundry, and I caught up on
some letter writing before I turned on the TV. Just the usual Saturday-night
stuff."

"Oh," murmured Katie.
The usual Saturday-night
stuff.
She knew it was true, but somehow until lately she hadn't really
stopped to think about what a boring life her mother lived. Not only was Willie
a freelance writer who worked alone in an office at home, but she was a widow
with an only child who hardly ever stayed home long enough to talk to her.
Katie sighed. As much as she longed to rush up to her room where she could
stretch out on her bed and daydream about Tony, she hung up her jacket and sat
down on the opposite end of the sofa instead, racking her brain for something
interesting to talk about. She couldn't just give up.

"You ought to go out more often, Mom," she said. "Don't
you get bored, sitting home alone so much of the time?"

Willie shrugged. "Oh, I get out," she said
bravely. "Sometimes I have to interview people for the newspaper articles
I write and then I . . ." Willie paused and sighed deeply. "You're
right, Katie. I do get bored sometimes, especially now that you're older and
have a life of your own. But don't worry. Boredom isn't terminal, and I enjoy
hearing about the things you do."

Katie gave an embarrassed little laugh. Now what could she
say? It was hard to think up a topic that would honestly interest a grown-up.
Willie wouldn't want to hear the latest gossip about Taffy Sinclair's mother's
trying to get her a part in a movie. Or how Scott Daly accidentally dumped an
order of french fries into Dekeisha Adams's lap at Bumpers after the movie. And
Katie wasn't
about
to tell her about Tony's good-night kiss.

She sighed. It was a lost cause. "I think I'll go up to
bed now," she said sheepishly. "See you in the morning."

 

Until Katie sat down at the breakfast table the next
morning, she had almost forgotten about her mother's predicament again.

"Hi, sweetheart," chirped Willie, looking up from
the newspaper and raising her coffee cup to Katie in a sort of salute. "You're
just the person I'm looking for. How would you like to go to the Natural
History Museum with me this afternoon to see the Ramses the Great exhibition?"

"The what?" asked Katie, wrinkling her nose.

"Ramses the Great," Willie repeated, pointing to a
full-page advertisement in the paper.

"Oh, you mean that Egyptian stuff?"

"That's right," said Willie excitedly. "Ramses
was the Pharaoh over three thousand years ago. He was the most powerful person
on earth while he was alive, and his subjects thought he was a god. This show
is supposed to be incredible. Come on. Go with me."

Katie cringed. As much as she wanted to help her mother get
out of the house and have some fun, this wasn't terrific timing. "There's
a Fabulous Five meeting at Jana's, but I guess I could get out of it," she
said, knowing her disappointment was showing on her face.

Willie held up both hands in protest. "No way. I know
how important your meetings with your friends are. Don't worry about it. I just
thought perhaps you didn't have anything to do. The show will be in town for a
couple more weeks. Maybe we'll find another time to go."

"But why don't you go?" asked Katie. "You don't
need me along. It would do you good to go somewhere."

"I don't think so," Willie said, making a face. "It's
no fun to see something like that if you don't have anyone to discuss it with.
It's like having good news when there's no one around to tell it to."

"But what about some of your friends?" Katie
insisted.

Willie shook her head slowly. "I called Peggy, and she's
more interested in watching wrestling on TV. Gretchen and Kelli are both too
broke to afford a baby-sitter, and Crystal can't get off work. No taste, no
money, and no time," she said with a little laugh. "Besides, I really
need to work on my notes for the writing class I'll be teaching at Wakeman next
week. I've never taught before, you know, and I'm a little nervous. I
definitely want to be prepared."

Katie nodded. She knew that Willie had been invited to give
a series of writing seminars at Wacko Junior High as part of a special project
in the English department, and she could easily understand why her mother was
nervous. But still, she felt worse than ever as she headed for Jana's apartment
and the meeting of The Fabulous Five a little while later. Maybe she should
have gone to the Egyptian exhibit with Willie instead of being selfish and
spending the afternoon with her friends. But at the same time, she reasoned,
she couldn't stop her own life to keep her mother entertained.

"What she really needs is . . ." Katie stopped
cold and glanced around the street at the few people walking near her as if
they might have read her thoughts. "A
boyfriend?
" she
whispered to herself, scarcely able to believe that she, Katie Shannon, was
uttering such words. "Well, not just any boyfriend," she said firmly.
"He would have to be special, like Tony, and be fun and interesting."

The more she thought about it as she walked along, the more
she knew the kind of person her mother's boyfriend should be. He didn't have to
be handsome and romantic. Just someone who would take Willie to museums and art
galleries and maybe even an occasional foreign movie. Those were the kinds of
things her mother liked to do. All Katie had to do was find someone who liked
the same things and introduce them to each other. How hard could that be?

CHAPTER 2

Katie was the last one to arrive at Jana's apartment for The
Fabulous Five meeting. Katie had been best friends with Beth Barry, Christie
Winchell, Melanie Edwards, and Jana Morgan since elementary school, and their
friendship had grown so strong that they had formed a club and named themselves
The Fabulous Five, even though they spent most of their time together anyway.

Mrs. Pinkerton answered the door and invited Katie in.
Pausing just outside Jana's room, Katie watched Jana's mother go back into the
living room. She sat down on the sofa next to Jana's new stepfather, who was
watching a bowling tournament on television. Katie couldn't help remembering
that it hadn't been so long ago that Pink, which was short for Wallace
Pinkerton, had simply been Jana's mother's boyfriend. Now they were married,
and Jana had a stepfather whom she not only had to share her mother with but
also their apartment. Katie shook her head. Willie would never do a thing like
that. Besides, all she needed was someone to show her a good time. She
certainly didn't need a
husband.

"Listen to my horoscope for today," said Christie
just as Katie entered the room. Beth, Jana, and Melanie were lounging on the
carpet, and Christie was sprawled across Jana's bed on her stomach, holding the
entertainment section of the Sunday paper open over the edge of the bed as she
read. "'You will learn an important secret. Unexpected rendezvous will lead
to romance and adventure.'"

"Get serious," said Katie, tossing her jacket into
a chair and joining the three on the floor. "Do you know how often those
things come true?"

Christie glared at her from over the top of the paper. "Lots
of times. Do you remember when mine said something about a special meeting that
could bring conflict or romance and that I could find myself under pressure?"
Christie didn't wait for Katie to answer. "That was the day Mr. Bell
introduced me to Jon Smith and asked me to tutor him. Boy, talk about conflict
and
romance. The principal asked me to tutor the boy I had a crush on! And that was
also the day that I found out you guys had nominated me for class president.
Major pressure."

Katie scowled, but Melanie bounced onto Jana's bed and asked
eagerly, "What's mine, Christie? I'm Cancer."

"Cancer, Cancer, Cancer," murmured Christie as she
scanned the page. "Here it is. 'Lost article reappears. Older woman,
possibly a family member, plays major role.'"

"Is that all?" grumbled Melanie. "So my
mother is going to find my overdue library book, probably when she cleans under
my bed. Who cares? It didn't say one thing about my love life."

"That depends on how you interpret it. Lost any
boyfriends lately?" said Katie, realizing too late that she had made a
major slip.

"I thought you didn't believe in horoscopes,"
teased Beth.

"Yeah," said Melanie. "You were pretty quick
to help me interpret mine."

"Let me read yours, Katie," offered Christie. "You're
Capricorn, aren't you?"

Katie nodded. She knew her friends weren't going to let her
off the hook until they read it to her, so she might as well be quiet and
listen.

"Here it is," said Christie. "Wow, guys.
Listen to this. 'Lunar position accents personality, timing, correct judgment.
Advice you give will be well received.'"

Katie blinked. "Run that by me again, please."

"Here. You can read it yourself if you want to,"
said Christie, holding out the newspaper to Katie.

Katie tried not to act too eager as she took the paper out
of Christie's hand, but it was uncanny that her horoscope said she should be
giving advice just when she had decided that her mother needed a little help
with her social life. "Hmm. That's what it says, all right."

Jana winked at the others and said coyly, "So what's it
going to be? A lecture on how not to fall for the wrong boy?"

Giggles broke out around the room. Katie tried to act angry,
but she knew her best friends too well to get upset at their teasing. They were
never going to let her live down the fact that Tony Calcaterra was considered a
troublemaker at Wakeman Junior High and that most people couldn't understand
why she liked him.

"As a matter of fact, I had someone else in mind to
give advice to," she said. "My mom."

"Your mom?" shrieked Melanie. "What kind of
advice can you give her?"

"Plenty," Katie assured them. "Actually,
maybe you guys can help me." She went on to explain how boring and lonely
her mother's life had become and how she had decided that the right boyfriend
was just what Willie Shannon needed. "Things are just so much more fun
when you have someone special to do them with," she added with a sigh.

"I agree," said Jana. "I know that being with
Randy certainly makes things a lot more fun."

Melanie, Beth, and Christie were nodding, too.

"Do you want to lend your mother my article on the
seven tips for flirting?" teased Melanie.

"Don't laugh," said Katie. "My problem is, I
don't know any eligible bachelors. At least not any who are her age and like
the same things she does."

Beth gave her a sly grin. "How about Laura McCall's
father?" she asked. "He's the right age and he drives a red Maserati.
If I were you, I'd definitely fix her up with a guy with a sports car."

"And just think, you might get Laura for a sister if
they got married," said Melanie, barely suppressing a laugh.
"Lucky
you!"

"Come on, guys. You can do better than that," said
Katie, rolling her eyes at the mention of Laura McCall, The Fabulous Five's
biggest enemy. "Help me think of somebody."

"Your mom's teaching that writing seminar at Wacko this
week, isn't she?" asked Christie.

Katie nodded.

"Then why not introduce her to some of the single men
teachers?"

"Christie, you're a genius," said Katie. "There
must be a bunch of them. Help me make a list."

"There's Mr. Mendelson, the shop teacher. Oh, and don't
forget dreamy Mr. Neal," said Jana.

From the faraway look in her eyes, Katie guessed that Jana
was remembering the crush she had on Mr. Neal when he was their fifth-grade
teacher at Mark Twain Elementary. "I don't know," Katie mused. "Somehow
he doesn't seem like my mom's type. He's probably too young, anyway."

"And he hangs around Miss Dickinson a lot
even
though
single teachers aren't supposed to date each other," added
Melanie.

"What do you do? Spy on them?" asked Beth.

"Of course not," huffed Melanie. "I can't
help what happens right in front of my eyes."

"Come on, guys. You're helping me think of dates for my
mom. Remember?" asked Katie.

"There's always Mr. Dracovitch," offered Melanie.

"Boo!"
hooted Beth. "Who would want to
go out with a guy who pretends he's Dracula to try to get kids interested in
taking his science classes? I wouldn't, and I like actors!"

"You'll have to admit he's unique," said Christie.
"Not your ordinary old run-of-the-mill bachelor."

"But have you smelled the fumes coming from under his
classroom door in the mornings before school?" asked Jana. "Kids are
saying that he's cooking up some kind of magic potion in there, maybe with bat
wings and lizard tails."

"Hey, forget Dracula. I've just had a brainstorm,"
said Katie, ignoring Jana and slapping her forehead with the heel of her hand. "What
about Mr. Newkirk? He's perfect. He's the head of the English department so he
must like the same kinds of things my mother does. Not only that, he'll be in
charge of her writing classes so they'll have to be together some of the time."

"Brilliant!" said Christie.

"I really think you've got something," said Jana.

"Yeah," said Beth. "All you have to do is sit
back and watch love blossom."

"He's not very cute," complained Melanie.

"So what?" asked Katie, giving Melanie an annoyed
look. "This is not going to be big-time romance. It's just to get her out
of the house once in a while."

"Yeah, but he's got a potbelly, and his voice is too
high," said Melanie, wrinkling her nose. "I wouldn't want
my
mother going out with him."

Katie ignored Melanie. She was too busy figuring out the
next step in her plan to be bothered by such trivial comments. Mr. Newkirk was
fine just the way he was. In fact, his being not very attractive was one of the
best things about him. Actually, he was sort of grandfatherly, and that suited
Katie just fine. She certainly didn't want her mother to start dating someone
who looked like Magnum, P.I. That could lead to unwelcome complications.

BOOK: Fabulous Five 012 - Katie's Dating Tips
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