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smile.

I told him I’d talk to Dad on the way to work tomorrow. But right now, I don’t

hold out too much hope.

I know how Zeke feels. I’m always doing things because Dad thinks they’re

“good for me.”

One of Dad’s favourite lines is, “Trust me on this one, Maggie.” Another one is,

“You’ll thank me for this someday.”

Like my piano lessons. There are times when I don’t want to practice. There was even a period when I wanted to quit. Sometimes the only reason I practice is because I don’t want to disappoint Dad.

Not I’m glad that I have a strong musical background. Which means Dad was

right.

Why does that bug me so much?

I have to write a new song for Vanish. I don’t have any idea what to write. This time I am
not
going to write about myself.

Tuesday 7/14

11:20 A.M.

Breakfast: ¾ cup cereal with skim milk, banana.

My new motto: Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.

Mom came by the office to tell Dad and me and she’s been chosen to be the

chairperson of a fund-raiser for Hollywood Cares for Animals (HCA). Raising money for an animal shelter if a good cause. But putting on a fund-raiser is a big responsibility. It might be good for Mom. As long as it’s a big success.

Last May, Mom was in change of a ten-mile run to raise money for an

international food relief fund. It NEVER rains in Los Angeles in may, but that day it poured. It was like throwing a big party and having no one come (She sure drank that day. and the day after. And the day after that.)

I walked with Mom to the elevator. She said she hoped I’d help her with the

benefit since it’s a charity I’m interested in. Which is true. I’m amazed at how many stray animals end up in our neighbourhood. I don’t understand how anyone could abandon an animal.

It’s turning into a busy summer. I have my job, Vanish rehearsals, and Mom’s

benefit got HCA.

Good.

I won’t have time to think about food.

Or Justin.

Does he think about me?

I doubt it.

Why should me?

8:35 P.M.

Lunch: 1 container low-fat yoghurt, 1 apple (small), I chocolate chip cookie (I have NO

SELF CONTROL).

Dinner (at home): Salad (no dressing), baked potato (no butter or sour cream), ½ portion of baked fish, 3 bites of fruit pie.

Eating at home drives me crazy.

“Don’t you want some sour cream for your potato?” asks Dad.

“Darling, you have to finish your dessert,” says Mom.

“Are you in a diet, Fatty?” asks Zeke.

“She is
not
fat—she’s too thin!” groans Dad. (Yeah, right.)

I said I was fill and gave the rest of my pie to Zeke.

I like Pilar. And I like her cooking. Which is probably the reason I’m such a tub-a-lub. Pilar is always making cookies for Zeke and me, homemade breads to go with dinner, and the most fattening main courses imaginable.

This is
not
the best situation for someone with very little self-control who is trying to lose right.

When Zeke heard about the benefactor HCA he said he’s pass on going to camp

so he could help. Zeke hates benefits, which should have proven to our parents how much he doesn’t want to go to camp.

Mom told him how much fun she had at summer camp when she was eleven years

old.

Dad said, “Now, son, let’s not go on about the camp thing. You’re going. You’ll thank me someday.”

Poor Zeke.

Mom seemed okay at dinner—only one glass of wine. She’s practicing more self-

control than I am. But I can tell she’s already nervous about the HCA benefit. The person who was in charge of it quit because of a family problem, so things that should have been done by now were neglected. The dinner and auction were only two weeks away and Mom found out that the invitations just went out a week or so ago. They also need more items to auction off. Mom has loads of ideas, like dinner for four, prepared by some famous chef at your house, or a week at some celebrity’s great beach house. But Mom has to convince a famous chef to make the dinner for free and a famous person to let strangers stay in his or her great beach house for a week. She needs at least fifteen more items like that for the auction.

I promised to help Mom on Saturday.

I’ glad I have my own phone line. Mom is going to be on the house line

practically non-stop until the benefit.

But really—why did I say that about the phone?

What difference does it make.

No one is trying to call me.

Certainly not Justin.

Wednesday 7/15

2:04 P.M.

Breakfast: ½ grapefruit, piece of toast with jam (no butter)

Lunch: I scoop tuna (no mayo), 4 celery sticks, 4 potato chips (4 too many).

I can’t believe it. Justin called me. He was so sweet. First he apologised for

calling me at work. I said it wasn’t a problem. He said there’s a rehearsal tomorrow night if I can come. I said yes and he said great.

I couldn’t think of anything else to say, but I didn’t want to say good-bye. I heard a dog barking in the background and asked him if he had a dog.

“That’s Jazz,” he said. “Come here, Jazz. Say hello to Maggie.”

Jazz barked into the phone.

“Jazz is a mutt,” Justin told me. “I picked him out in a HCA shelter when I was in the second grade. He’s a terrific dog.”

I could not believe it. Not only is Justin cute, nice, and musical. He also has a sweet dog he adopted from a shelter.

I told Justin about Curtis, our kitten. Then I babbled on about Mom’s fund raiser for HCS. Finally I said, “I guess I better get back to work.”

“Want a ride to rehearsal tomorrow night?” he asked.

I looked down at my work calendar and read. “Thursday. 3:00 P.M. Auditions for

Never
. Go with Dad.” I didn’t know where the auditions were being held.

“I don’t know where I’ll be before rehearsal,” I told Justin. Boy, did that sound stupid.

“Okay,” he said. “See you there, then. ‘Bye.”

And he hung up.

I can’t believe I acted so dumb. I didn’t even thank him for offering me a ride.

And now that I think about it, it doesn’t mean anything special that he called me. Amalia probably asked him to.

Thursday 7/16

2:30 P.M.

Breakfast: Low-fat cereal wit skim milk.

Lunch: Orange, 2 chocolate chip cookies (low fat).

Note: I have only lost one pound so far.
I WILL NOT EAT SO MUCH
.

Too busy to write. Going to
Never
audition, then band rehearsal.

10:07 P.M.

Snack: 9 potato chips.

Supper: 1 slice pizza with cheese scraped off, diet soda.

I shouldn’t; have eaten those potato chips. I have NO self-control. I’m sure that the actress that Dad chose as the lead for
Never
wouldn’t be caught dead eating potato chips. She had a perfect figure, not an ounce of fat. She sued to be a model.

Why do I always think I’m hungry? I say over and over to myself: I am not

hungry. I will stick to my diet. I am not hungry. I will stick to my diet.

Why do they have to call it a die-it? That makes dieting sound awful and negative.

Who no call it a live-it? That’s it. I’m on a live-it. Eat to live. Tomorrow I’ll have tuna for lunch—no bread.

I’m thinking about food again. Think about something else.

Justin.

Why am I obsessed with him?

Because he is cute and kind and smart and talented, that’s why.

And he has a dog named Jazz.

Dad’s new chauffer, Reg, gave me a ride to rehearsal. Even thought I was twenty minutes late, I got out two clocks from Rico’s I didn’t want anyone to see me arrive in a limo!

I heard the band practicing from half a block away. It sounded great.

I wonder: Am I good enough to be singing with them?

What if they play better and better and I don’t improve as a singer?

Amalie was standing inside the door. She gave me a big hug. Rico, Patti, and

Bruce waved to me. Justin didn’t.

“We’re all going out for pizza after,” said Amalia. “Can you?”

I told her yes, as long as I was home by ten thirty. I asked in a whisper if she had asked Justin to call me. She had offered to make calls for her because she can’t make calls from her job at the ice-cream shop. I asked her if she offered to call
everyone
.

“Everyone else already knew it,” she answered.

I still don’t know if Justin called me if he wanted to, or wanted to help out

Amalia.

As I headed for the band, Justin looked up. His face broke into a huge grin. “Hi,”

he called out. “You got here.”

“Yes, here I am,” I said.

What a dumb thing to say.

I sucked in my big stomach and went over to the mike.

We ran through “Fallen Angel” five times so Justin could learn it. It was hard to concentrate on the lyrics. My stomach was rumbling and I head a headache, probably from worrying about being at rehearsal on time.

I tired to put my mind and heart into my lyrics. I was thinking about Justin when I sang the last lines, “won’t you come with me?/’Cause I don’t want to be/A fallen angel/A fallen angel.”

We rehearsed some more numbers. Everyone had an upbeat attitude. Rico’s

parents brought in some sodas and snacks for us. We stood around drinking and eating (only a diet coke for me). Everyone talked about how god the band was sounding and where they thought we could improve. Justin was standing near me. Very near.

“Working in a new song?” he asked.

“Not yet,” I said. “How about you? Are you going to compost for the band?”

“I’m not in that league yet,” he answered,

Justin put his hand on my arm. It was like he was hugging me. That’s how it made me feel. “You’re coming out with us after?” he asked.

All I could think was,
Please don’t take your hand off my arm
. Managed to nod.

“Good,” he said. Then he went back to his guitar.

After rehearsal we walked to a pizza place near Rico’s. Justin and Patti paired off.

I wondered if Patti was sick of Bruce and was making a play for Justin. Or was Justin making a play for her? Whichever way worked...they were laughing and talking up a storm. I hated that they were having such a good time together. The jealousy must have shown because Amalia pulled me aside to say that Patti asked Justin to walk with her.

Whatever.

All I know is that
I’ve
never made him laugh like that.

Why do people always have to EAT when they hang out together? I tried to act

lively and be part of the crowd at the pizza parlour. But it was hard to be jolly when everyone else was wolfing down slice after slice and nagging me to join in.

“Don’t take off the cheese, that’s the best part.”

“Have another slice, Maggie.”

“I can’t believe you’re only eating one slice.”

They just don’t get it.

Justin asked me about my job. Everyone listened when I described the plot of

Never
. I made fun of my Dad’s film. I felt disloyal, but I didn’t want them to think I liked that junk.

On the way back to Rico’s, Justin walked next to me. I figured he only did it

because Patti went off in the other direction with Bruce.

I asked him questions about his dog. I told him how I wanted to be a vet. He said he assumed I wanted to be a professional singer. Ha!

Does he really think I’m that good?

No, he couldn’t. because I’m not.

He just thinks that I
think
I’m that good. How awful.

When we were also at Rico’s house, I realised that I hadn’t asked Justin is he

could give me a ride home. I had just assumed he would. But what if he hadn’t assumed what I had assumed? I blurted out something about needing a ride.

He grinned and said, “Isn’t the lime from your dad’s company picking you up?” I could tell he was joking, but it hurt. Maybe that’s why he thinks I could be a professional singer. Because my dad is a big deal in the entertainment industry. It was an awful moment. I didn’t say anything. Finally, Justin broke the silence by saying of course he’d give me a ride home. He was giving Amalia a ride. Besides, my house was on his way.

Amalia jumped into the backseat of the car. I realised that if I got in the back with her, Justin would be left along in the front—just like in a chauffeured car. I got in the front.

When I put on the seat belt it made an indent across my fat belly. It was a good reminder of WHY I take the cheese off my pizza. I put my backpack on my lap.

Amalia and Justin started talking about a festival of rock concert films that’s playing in Anaheim. Justin suggested that we all go on July 25th, then they’re showing
Rockers Roll
. He thinks I sing like Maxie Benox. (I’ll never be that good.) I’ve already seen the film. My dad knows the producers, so we went to a private screening. But I didn’t tell Amalia and Justin that. I wanted to go with them.

“Next Saturday I can’t, Justin,” Amalia said. “I’m going to a baby shower for my cousin.”

Justin turned to me and asked if I could go anyway.

I couldn’t believe it. Justin was asking me on a date. Sort of.

“Yes,” I blurted out. “I mean, I think so. I just have to check with my parents.”

Lame, lame, lame.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll pick up tickets.”

To do:

- Ask Mom and Dad for permission to go out with Justin Saturday night.

- Lost three pounds by Saturday.

11:06 P.M.

Amalia called to talk about my date with Justin. I asked her if she thought it was a real “date.” then an idea struck me like lightening. Justin was probably going to ask Rico, Bruce, and Patti too.

“Maybe he will,” Amalia said. “maybe he did. But I know that they cant go.

Everyone else is busy. It’s you and Justin—alone.”

“Yess!” I shouted.

Then reality hit me.

“What am I going to wear, Amalia?” I moaned into the receiver. “What will we

walk about? Help! I’m so nervous.”

Amalia was great. She calmed me right down. She’s going to help me figure out

BOOK: o 359b4f51a22759c4
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