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Authors: Simone Bryant

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BOOK: Famous
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nineteen

Starr
October [email protected]:00 p.m.| Mood: Spooky

The
sound of music filtered upstairs to Starr's bedroom as her mom's makeup artist finished with a few last-minute touch-ups to her makeup. When the mirror was pushed into her hands she was excited to see her final transformation into Tinkerbell.

The exaggerated glitter and colorful eye makeup worked perfectly with her bangs and loose top. Starr hopped down off the makeup chair and studied her image in the full-length mirror. The strapless, green sequined dress was a more refined rendition of the fairy-tale character's look with a corset and wide ballerina tutu, even down to the wings attached to the costume at her shoulder blades. A shimmer of glitter was lightly sprinkled over her entire body. She even had the satin green slippers with a furry ball on each one.

“Perfect,” Starr said, turning this way and that in the mirror.

The only thing that didn't feel right was not having Marisol and Dionne there with her. In the past, the girls would
have brought their costumes with them and stayed the night, talking about the upcoming party. They would have gotten their hair done together and gotten their makeup done together. And gotten dressed to go down to the party together.

Dionne decided to come with her dad, and Marisol? Starr wasn't even sure she was still coming. She tried to shrug it off like she didn't care, but she did.

Clutching her magic wand, Starr followed the glam squad to her mother's room where she was awaiting final touches to her Cleopatra makeup. Her dad was going as Egyptian pharaoh King Tut.

“Sash, baby, you got to hurry or we'll miss our own red carpet,” Cole Lester said.

Starr tapped her father's broad shoulder and he turned, chomping on a cigar that looked out of place with his long white tunic, ornate sash, collar and armbands. His headpiece was gold. The only thing he lacked was the heavy kohl liner around his eyes.

“Whaddup, Tinkerbell?” he said, pinching her glitter-dusted cheek.

“What's the haps, King Tut?” Starr joked.

“Okay, I'm ready,” Sasha said.

Starr and her dad turned toward her. “Wow, Mommy, you look good,” Star said, saying a quick prayer that when she finally began to fill out she would inherit her mother's hourglass figure.

The costume was real sexy with a white halter top trimmed in gold and low slung skirt that only fell mid-thigh. The long, gold-trimmed cape flowed to the floor.
The ornate gold and turquoise collar and belt highlighted the glow of her caramel complexion. She wore a Cleopatra bob with a matching headpiece with thick kohl eyeliner embellished with rhinestones around her eyes.

“You like, my king?” she asked her husband with a flirtatious smile.

Cole nodded. “I like, my queen.”

Starr sighed heavily as they kissed. She hated when her parents acted like horny teenagers. “Party downstairs! Red carpet! People waiting on us! Gotta go!” Starr said, grabbing their arms and pulling them to the door.

 

When my parents throw a party, they throw a party,
she thought, holding her bejeweled Venetian-like mask up to her face as she moved around the crowded dance floor as “Ghostbusters” blared through the sound system.

The Lester mansion had been completely transformed into three different spaces. Their guests had to enter through a long, winding tent decorated as a haunted house, with an actor jumping out from behind a curtain to scare everyone who entered. As they entered, guests were greeted by actors in elaborately decorated zombie costumes, who served hors d'oeuvres, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

As they entered the next area, it was decorated with round, black, tablecloth-covered tables, with elaborate tree-like centerpieces draped in everything Halloween, from cobwebs to spiders. The darkness of the room was broken up by swirling orange strobe lights that created eerie-looking shadows that circled the walls, giving the space an elegant
yet spooky feel that could only be described as Halloween couture.

The last space was the dance floor, which was decorated like a castle with an opulent decor.

Starr turned and looked toward the door, hoping to see Marisol or Dionne. Someone tapped her shoulder and she turned to find Natalee dressed in an elaborate glittery ball gown, with a huge crown and a star-topped wand.

“Who are you?” Starr snapped.

“Glenda, the Good Witch,” she said.

Of course,
Starr thought, with a stiff smile.

“This place is beautiful and creepy all at once,” Natalee said, in a husky voice that could be heard over the sound of Rockwell's hit “Somebody's Watching Me.”

Yes, kinda like you,
Starr thought to herself.

Starr turned to keep her eye out for her girls—hard to do with nearly two hundred costume-wearing partygoers already filling the place.

“Why don't you like me?”

Starr frowned as she lowered her mask to look at Natalee.

“Excuse me?” she said with attitude.

“Why don't you like me?” Natalee repeated, not flinching as Starr gave her a hard stare.

“I don't know what you're talking about. I don't have any feelings one way or the other about you, sweetie,” Starr countered, feeling slightly uneasy at Natalee's directness.

Natalee flicked her glossy auburn spirals over her shoulder. “And you don't want to,” she said.

Starr's shoulders tensed and she wished the music was a bit louder to drown her out. “Don't want to what?”

“Get to know me.”

Starr locked eyes with Natalee. “I don't want to be forced to,” she said truthfully.

Natalee nodded in understanding as she twirled her wand. “Me either, Starr,” she said turning to walk away.

Starr eyed the top of the crown moving through crowd as it floated. She turned, dismissing the girl, but a tug of guilt hit her deep and she turned to search the crowd. Natalee was standing by her parents. Not dancing. Not talking with the other teens in the crowd. Just looking like a third wheel with her parents.

“I thought we had a good balance. I thought we were doing right by you and your brothers, letting you enjoy everything we worked hard to get. Knowing you would lie to someone to get your way, Starr, makes me wonder if we were wrong.” Ugh, Ma,
Starr thought, hating that her mother's words clung to her like the infamous twins Poly and Ester. Starr headed off in Natalee's direction, sidestepping Wonder Woman, who was gyrating in front of Superman. She had to shoot the evil eye to a zombie pretending to come at her with outstretched arms as “Monster Mash” played loudly around them.

“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Livingston,” Starr said politely, keeping to herself that the choice to be Fred Flintstone and Wilma was dead-on, right down to his bare feet looking like they had been used to power a vehicle. Ew!

“Tinkerbell, you look beautiful,” Mrs. Livingston gushed, the large pearls around her neck looking authentic.

“Thank you,” Starr said, batting her long lashes as she
touched a button on her hips to make her wings flutter and light up.

“Well, look at that, Natalee,” Mrs. Livingston cooed, clapping her hands.

The look on Natalee's face said “whoop dee-doo.”

“My friends are staying over after the party and you're invited,” Starr said.

Natalee arched an eyebrow. “Really?” she asked, sounding like Alicia Keys.

Starr stiffened. She wasn't quite sure whether her one-word response was sarcastic. “So let me know,” she said, before turning to walk away.

She dismissed Natalee's reaction as she tried hard not to focus on how many Michael Jackson and Barack Obama costumes she saw as she made her way back to the front. Starr jumped in surprise as someone screamed from inside the haunted house tent. Several people with masks standing nearby laughed at her. Starr ignored them.

The lights flickered and the sound of eerie laughter filled the air, startling the crowd. Lights flashed around the stage as the curtains slowly opened and Michael Jackson's “Thriller” began to play.

The stage lights came on and the shadow of a dancing figure appeared behind a screen. The crowd applauded and whistled at the re-creation of Michael Jackson's signature dance moves.

Curious, Starr made her way to the front of the dance floor. “What is going on?” she asked herself as the figure jumped through the screen and posed.

Jordan.

Starr's heart pounded to see him in a costume like Michael Jackson's outfit from the “Thriller” video. Throughout his entire performance, her eyes were glued to him—his every move, his voice, his talent, his ability to connect with the audience, his intensity, everything. There was no mistaking that Jordan Jackson was going to be a huge star.

That thought made Starr happy and sad all at once.

twenty

Dionne
October [email protected]:17 p.m. | Mood: Annoyed

Dionne
was big-time regretting her decision to stay at her dad's and ride with him to the costume party, masquerade ball—whatevs.

First, she had been big-time disappointed to find Candylixxxious comfortable as all get-out in the apartment in nothing but a pair of leggings and a wife beater that barely covered her gravity-defying breasts.

Next, discovering that her father was taking the star of more than twenty videos and an upcoming calendar to the party with them was mortifying.

Dionne eyed her dad's bedroom doors from her seat in front of the seventy-inch flat screen. No sight of them. Nothing but the faint smell of marijuana mingled with air freshener and incense sticks.

“Daddy!” Dionne yelled out sharply. “Let's go.”

The door open and a thin trail of smoke escaped. Candylixxxious stepped out in a Playboy bunny outfit that didn't leave anything to anybody's imagination.

Dionne rolled her eyes.

“He's getting dressed now,” she said, her voice soft and whispery and so completely unnatural.

“What were y'all doing all that time?” she snapped, big-time pissed off that Marisol texted her that she'd missed Jordan performing “Thriller.”

Candylixxxious just laughed and laughed as she moved into the kitchen on four-inch heels.

“There goes my baby…”

Dionne picked up her BlackBerry. Hassan. “Hello,” she said, frowning at the loud music and background noise.

“I wish you were here with me.”

She stood up and moved across the large living room to the bay windows. Her reflection in the glass made it look like she was walking on air above the brightly lit New York City skyline. “Me, too,” she said. “But my dad really wanted me to go with him.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

“I understand. I just like hanging out with you, DiDi.”

Her heart sank.
Awww.

“I just wish my dad woulda let you come,” she said, sticking to her lie as she focused on the view beyond the window, unable to stand the sight of her own reflection.

Pinocchio don't have ish on you, boo.

“Don't make me have to hurt no chick dancing up on you,” she said. “I still got spies at Westside.”

Hassan laughed. “If you really cared, you woulda been here with me,” he joked.

That was so true.

“And don't get one of them preppy boys straight rocked, ya heard,” he said.

Dionne smiled.

“Let's be out,” her dad said from behind her.

Dionne frowned at the silk pajamas and housecoat he wore. “Daddy,” she snapped. “Where is your costume?”

She pointed to her fedora, oversize rope chain, red and black Adidas tracksuit and sneakers without the laces. “You look nothing like the Run to my DMC,” she said.

“Wow,” Hassan said on the phone. “Hit me up later when y'all work that out.”

She gladly hit the red phone icon.

“No, he's Hugh Hefner,” Candylixxxious said, walking out of the kitchen with a bottle of Ciroc in her hand.

“Where are you going with
that?
” Dionne snapped.

“Dionne!” her father barked.

Dionne dropped down on the sofa. Pissed. So pissed.

“Apologize for being rude and disrespectful?” Lahron said, coming to stand over her.

Dionne was beyond hurt that her father picked his flavor of the month over her. Dionne fought the urge to tell Whackalixxxious to use her DDDs to float her behind out the door.

Candylixxxious shook her head. “I didn't know y'all had matching costumes, Dionne,” she said, looking confused at Dionne's obvious anger at her.

Dionne shrugged. “Can we just go?” she asked.

“When you apologize and this is your last chance, Dionne,” her dad said in a firm voice.

“Sorry,” she said low in her throat, barely above a whisper, and not at all heartfelt.

For the entire trip to Starr's, Dionne said nothing from
her seat in the back. She even skipped the red carpet. Being seen as half of Run DMC with her rapper dad was cute. Standing in as a third wheel as DMC while Hef and Holly posed? Weird, whack and weak.

She accepted the huge tote bag of candy a ghoul handed her with a creepy grin showing off bloodstained teeth. Too authentic. Okay?

Dionne walked into the dark tent, hating that the door closed behind her, making the interior inky-black until lights flashed, momentarily revealing disfigured bodies and floating apparitions. As she continued to walk, eerie voices whispered to her, hands reached out for her, cobwebs clung to her face.

When the zombie-clown suddenly lunged at her, Dionne couldn't help but scream and run out of the tent. She knew it was all staged, but her heart was still beating like crazy.

“Finally!”

Dionne turned just in time for Tinkerbell to grab her wrist. “Starr?” she asked. She nodded.

Dionne fumed. “You look all cute and current and I'm looking like a lesbian from the eighties!”

Starr stopped and turned to eye Dionne's costume with an apologetic shake of her head. “I'm sorry, bestie, but that costume went straight to the left because there is nothing right about it.”

“Co-sign,” Dionne agreed.

“Ew, my gosh.”

Dionne followed Starr's line of vision directed at Candylixxxious, who was running out of the haunted tent emitting
a little squeal, each of her breasts going up and down or left and right—but never in the same direction as the other.

“Welcome to my weekends at Daddy's,” Dionne complained, still salty about the costume drama.

“Ooooh,” Starr said, still eyeing the woman.

It was Dionne's turn to grab Starr's wrist. “Let's go find Marisol,” she said.

“Okay, but let's go get you changed first. I have a really cute cowgirl costume from last Halloween,” Starr said, leading the way through the crowd and out the doors of the ballroom.

“Thanks, Starr,” Dionne said as they took the elevators up to the floor housing the bedrooms.

“I just hate that you missed Jordan's tribute to Michael Jackson…he completely killed it. Killllled it.”

“Marisol said it was ballistic,” Dionne said as Starr entered her security code and then opened the door.

Dionne ran into the back of her when Starr stopped. “Marisol's here already?” she asked.

Dionne nodded. “She and Percy are dressed as Bonnie and Clyde. I can't wait to see them,” she said, already kicking off her Adidas sneakers.

“I thought we agreed no dates,” Starr said, her voice sounding slightly annoyed as she walked into her closet and emerged moments later with the costume covered in a dry-cleaning plastic bag.

“Me, too, but it's okay,” Dionne said.
Because if I could have brought Hassan I would have for sure,
she mused.

“She didn't even look for me,” Starr said, sounding hurt.

Dionne stopped unzipping the jacket of her tracksuit. “I
think we all need to talk and to make the necessary apologies and not let forming the group mess up our friendship.”

“Necessary apologies?”

Oh, boy. “Starr, you hired a new choreographer and didn't tell the girl. Come on now, Starr. That was messed up.” Dionne eyed her. “Seriously, Starr!”

“I've put a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money into this group, Dionne,” she insisted, flopping down onto her bed. “If we are going to do this and do it right so that we do it big, then we all have to put in one hundred and ten percent.”

“Listen, I want this, too. I've seen
Fame.
I've heard the speech. And yes, fame does cost but I don't want it to cost us our friendship. Do you?” Dionne asked.

Starr just stared at her colorful nails.

Dionne eyed her for a long time. The fact that Starr didn't answer her question definitely gave Dionne pause.

BOOK: Famous
13.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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