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Authors: Jennifer Jabaley

Lipstick Apology

BOOK: Lipstick Apology
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
SUNDAY NIGHT
I stared at myself in the mirror. The transformation was amazing. A little concealer under the eyes, Jolie's favorite berry stain on my cheeks, golden highlights around my face, compliments of Trent, and a tiny bit of cleavage. I looked like a new version of myself. A happier, prettier, more confident version. Maybe I no longer had to be the orphaned girl that everyone pitied, the zombie girl whose face was splashed across the covers of
People
and the regional papers because her mother left her a mysterious apology. Maybe this was my chance to try on a new life.
Lipstick Apology
 
RAZORBILL
 
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
 
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
 
Copyright © 2009 Jennifer Jabaley
All rights reserved
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
 
Jabaley, Jennifer.
Lipstick apology / by Jennifer Jabaley.
p. cm.
 
Summary: After her parents' sudden death, sixteen-year-old Emily leaves Pennsylvania for her aunt's New York City apartment, private school, and disconcerting new relationships, all the while puzzling over her mother's mysterious apology to her.
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-18456-1
[1. Grief—Fiction. 2. Moving, Household—Fiction. 3. Aunts—Fiction. 4. Dating (Social customs)—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction. 6. Orphans—Fiction. 7. New York (N.Y.)—Fiction. I. Title
 
PZ7.J127 Lip 2009
[Fic] 22
2008039716
 
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FOR MY FAMILY
prologue
STEVE MCCAFFITY JUST UNDRESSED ME
with his eyes.
Okay, maybe I'm still clothed, but we definitely made eye contact. Well, actually, he might have only glanced at the tiny chocolate stain on my V-neck—so it
was
noticeable.
I decided to level with myself. It was actually quite possible that Steve McCaffity didn't even know that I existed.
I stared at him, lounging on my living room couch in a T-shirt that revealed his impressive biceps, looking like he owned the place. I stood in the doorway trying to muster the courage to approach the guy who hadn't yet realized that we were destined to be together. I glanced back at my best friend, Georgia, who was standing in the kitchen, monitoring the party activity. A couple of hours ago Georgia had decided we should shut off the overheads and drape Christmas lights from the cabinets for a better atmosphere. I'd been skeptical—Christmas lights in early June? Wasn't this supposed to be a summerthemed party since the school year had just ended?
Either way, the red and green flickering lights danced on the faces of people I barely knew. I felt a twinge of guilt letting the popular crowd invade our kitchen—my mom's favorite room—just to have a chance to talk to Steve.
Georgia raised her eyebrows at me, her dark curly ponytail bobbing.
Emily,
she mouthed,
go talk to him!
I shook my head and scampered back toward her. “He doesn't even know my name.”
“Wimp,” Georgia said. “Look at him, he's watching you!” She gestured across the crowd toward Steve. Jeez, there were like fifty kids in my living room, and the party had only gotten started an hour ago! Just went to show how little else was going on in our quaint Pennsylvania suburb on a warm night in June. I saw Steve, still on the couch. He
was
looking at me, but his face was all scrunched up.
“He's just trying to figure out how he knows you,” Georgia said in an encouraging voice as she nudged me forward. “This is just like on
Rhapsody in Rio
when Gabriela asked Fernando for a new mop and Fernando scrunched up his face and asked,
Who are you, you gorgeous thing?
And Gabriela said,
I'm your maid. I've worked here every day for a year.
And Fernando said,
How have I failed to notice this creature of beauty until now?
And they fell madly in love.”
One thing about Georgia: she was addicted to soaps, psychics, and all things melodramatic.
Steve's face
was
all twisted, and I thought just maybe there was a chance he was finally seeing me and opening his heart to the possibilities. But then he pulled a lime wedge out of his mouth and tossed it on the floor. I stared down at the lime.
How could he do that in my home?
I surveyed the room: the soft, tan couch with plaid throw pillows, the circular ring on the wooden coffee table where Dad's mug perpetually sat, the sun-distressed leather recliner. To me, all these things signified a home, a place to relax and be myself, but as the ancient wine stain on the rug jumped into focus, I wondered if to others, the room appeared shabby. I suddenly felt uncomfortable in my own house.
When I looked over again, Steve was kissing Lexi Bollins—like, on the mouth.
This is so typical of my life,
I thought.
Things go from bad to worse.
I tore through the kitchen, grabbed a box of donuts, and bolted to the solitude of our basement. I sat on Mom's stool and stared at her oil painting of our huge, backyard weeping willow tree. Touching the drying paint, I had an overwhelming urge to call my parents. Not to confess about the party, but just to hear their voices. I reached for my cell phone, then remembered my cotton skirt didn't have pockets. Oh, well, they were probably still in flight, hovering somewhere over the West Coast.
“Oh my God! Release your grip on the Entemann's!” Georgia yelled as she came downstairs. “No time to sulk!”
“Do you ever feel like you just fade into the background?” I asked, taking another bite of the chocolate donut. “And it's not just Steve—nobody ever notices me.” I pointed upstairs. “They don't even know whose house they're in.”
Georgia sighed and sat on a stack of art books. “You just need to take more chances—be a little more visible.”
“But how?”
“How?” she asked more to herself. “I know! I'll call Sister Ginger!” She patted the butt of her tight jeans, then gave up and said, “Give me your cell.”
I shook my head. “It's upstairs charging. But I'm not taking advice from a crazy psychic.”
Georgia disappeared upstairs. I looked over at a water-color portrait Mom had painted of me. Even with her artistic ability I still looked bland. I had apple cheeks that my mom swore were high cheekbones but really just made my face look chubby. A round face on a toothpick body. I had blond hair, but not blond enough. I had blue eyes, but not blue enough. It was like I needed one more stroke of color.
“Okay,” Georgia said, coming back downstairs. “The good news is it was
not
an international call.” She held out the house cordless phone. “Riley Goodwin used your landline to call her boyfriend.” She looked down at the screen. “Seventy-two minutes ago. It's a 404 area code. Any guesses?” She shrugged, then dialed a number by heart. “Yes, Sister Ginger?”
I heard Georgia say my name and birthday as I reached out and touched Mom's paintbrush, still coated with phthalo green paint.
Georgia grabbed my arm, her eyebrows raised to her hairline. “Sister Ginger says tonight you will be noticed in a BIG WAY.” She tossed the phone to the ground.
“I'm not listening to that crazy psychic. Last time you wound up with orange hair!”
Georgia examined a strand of her dark curls. “Come on, be adventurous,” she begged.
My stomach clenched at the thought. I nervously reached up to adjust my glasses. Georgia motioned to my face. “Emily, stop. You're wearing your contacts.”
“Right,” I said, taking my index finger off the bridge of my nose. Whenever I was nervous, my finger reflexively went to the spot where it had pushed sliding glasses back into place for eight years—that was half my life! It was a hard habit to break. “Okay,” I said, taking a deep breath. “Let's go get noticed.”
Back in the living room, Tanner Montgomery switched off my CD and started hooking up his own iPod to the computer. Immediately loud bass shook the floors and rattled the family photo frames on the mantel.
I tried to pretend I recognized the song and yelled, “Good choice!” But no one heard me. I had a better idea.
“What are you doing?” Georgia was frantic.
“I'm going to dance on the counter. Get noticed,” I explained as I pulled myself onto its cool surface.
“I
do not
think that's what Sister Ginger had in mind!” Georgia put her hands on her hips and huffed. “Well, at least take your shoes off; your mom will notice scuff marks!”
I leaned down toward her. “I'm not taking my shoes off and displaying my abnormalities to the whole school!”
She shook her head disapprovingly. “God, you're so obsessed with your toes!”
BOOK: Lipstick Apology
8.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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