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Authors: Janey Louise Jones

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BOOK: Pop Star Princess
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“OK then,” agreed Daisy, the unofficial spokesperson for the band. “that's fine with us.”

Lilac smiled. “Thanks, girls, that's really sweet of you.”

Poppy, Honey, Daisy, Rose and Lily all took their seats backstage, anxious to hear what the competition was like, but feeling quite secure about their own chances, especially after what Grandpa had said about Lilac and the Mermaids.

The first few acts were pleasant enough, and a little girl from Strawberry Corner called Blossom Darling was especially cute with a song she had written herself
about ballet. Any screeching in the sound system was quickly adjusted by the production crew. But so far, it didn't look like any other group had put the same time and effort into their numbers as the Beach Babes had. They were sure all their practice was going to pay off. Poppy thought that Caves 'n' Rocks were really good, despite what Lily's brother had said about their song, and so were an Abba tribute group – although they were not original.

Soon it was time for Lilac and the Mermaids to perform. Lilac got up on stage, followed by her band, and took the microphone. She looked very glamorous in a mini-dress and high heels. The rest of the
Mermaids were dressed much more simply, so that Lilac looked even more stunning. Her long blonde hair had been newly styled and, with a flick of her golden tresses, she began to sing. Her song was:
Chocolate Sundae Girls
.

The Beach Babes couldn't believe what they were hearing. Surely Lilac didn't think she could get away with pinching their song.

Granny Bumble, Mum, Dad, Uncle Daniel, Aunt Delphi and all the other parents were completely dumbstruck. Grandpa was appalled. He had heard Lilac and the Mermaids practising their song in the cave two days before and it wasn't this one. How had Lilac got hold of his girls' song? He looked over at the Colonel, who had also heard Lilac's dreadful rehearsal in the cave, to see him smiling proudly, just like Grandpa should have been at his two
granddaughters. But what was odd was that Mr Farrington, rather than looking happy for his daughter, looked rather disconcerted and puzzled.

Chapter Seven

LILAC DID NOT
sing brilliantly at all, but the fact that the song was good enabled her to pass it off quite well. Her friend Fern Zitelli was on guitar, with Lulu Lamont on drums, and they did a passable cover version of
Chocolate Sundae Girls
even though it was nothing like the Beach Babes' version and they had no backing vocals or dance routine to speak of.

The judges seemed very impressed. As far as they knew it wasn't a cover version of
another song; it seemed truly original, as well as catchy.

Poppy felt hot tears pricking in her eyes. Daisy's palms were warm and clammy. Honey was in tears. Rose and Lily had never been so furious. How could this have happened to them?

Suddenly Lily began to sob. “It's all my fault! Remember when I dropped my song sheet in the Lighthouse Café and me and Fleur couldn't find it the next day? Well, Lilac was at the next table – she could have stolen the song sheet then. And when their own song didn't shape up, she must have
decided to use ours instead and then ask to sing before us!”

“What a rotten thing to do!” exclaimed Daisy, but it was the only explanation that made any sense.

As Lilac's band took their bows on stage, Lily spread the word of what might have happened amongst their families. They were all appalled. They knew that the girls had been singing that number all along and had written it themselves.

Soon it was time for the Beach Babes to take the stage. But instead of the whole band going up, Daisy walked on alone, bravely took the microphone and tried to explain what had happened.

“We will not be able to take part in the
contest because our song has been sung by Lilac and the Mermaids. We're not sure how this happened, but a song sheet of
Chocolate Sundae Girls
went missing from the Lighthouse Café.”

There was a gasp of confusion from the audience, other performers, the judges, presenters and crew. Then there was a hush. Johnny McDonald walked towards Daisy and took the microphone from her.

“Well, folks, looks like there's been a bit of confusion here. But, hey, that's what rehearsals are for! I guess that's it for tonight. Thank you, everybody. We need to try to get to the bottom of this.”

As the Beach Babes were being comforted by their families, Lilac, Lulu and Fern
walked past. None of them even looked at Poppy and her friends. They couldn't believe that after all their hard work and commitment they were out of the contest and it seemed like there was nothing they could do about it.

Daisy's mum, Delphi, couldn't stand it – it was so unfair. She jumped up onto the stage and spoke into the microphone, managing to say her piece before she was escorted off by a burly bouncer.

“You haven't heard the last of this. I don't know what Lilac and the Mermaids are up to, but they won't get away with it. I saw my daughter and her friends write that song and I will not rest until the truth comes out – and the truth
will
out, I am sure of it!”

There was nothing more anyone could do or say to make a difference so they returned to The Pebbles feeling very frustrated, angry and disappointed at the way things had turned out. Poppy had never felt so low. It seemed there was no way out of this horribly unfair situation.

Back at the house, they all settled down in the living room.

“Right!” said Poppy's dad. He hardly ever got angry, but now he was feeling furious. “Let's discuss what options are open to us here. This is a very difficult situation.”

“Why don't we confront Lilac and her band and get them to confess?” suggested Mum. “She must have a heart. I've always thought she was very sweet. Sometimes I think her dad puts too much pressure on her to be the best at everything. Maybe she just needs a bit of sympathy.”

BOOK: Pop Star Princess
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