Authors: Rachel Wise
I ran into Michael at the bonus table at lunch. We were both buying baked kale chips from Bob. (I know, kale sounds gross, right? But it's actually really good as chips!)
“Hey, Pasty!” said Michael. “Stocking up on some snacks to keep that tummy quiet?”
“Oh, shush, you!” I said, but he
make me laugh.
“Saw Trigger this morning. He's pretty psyched about the lunch article.”
“Oh, I have to stop by to see him. When's our next staff meeting again?”
“Tomorrow after school.”
“Right. Well, I'll pop in today, then. I can't wait that long to hear what he thinks.”
“Hey, what are you up to later? Like after school today? We have a short practice because they don't want to tire us out before the homecoming game this weekend. I was thinkingÂ .Â .Â . Do you to come over and brainstorm some ideas for stories? I can make my world-famous cinnamon buns while we're thinking. I know you work better when your stomach is full.”
Was this a date? Was Michael Lawrence asking me out? Or was he asking me
? Uh-oh. I started to laugh.
But then his face fell. “Or whatever, sorry. I'm
sure you're really busy and stuff, so maybeÂ .Â .Â .”
I swatted him. “Of course I'd love to come. It just made me laugh because of an inside joke I have with Hailey. Anyway, count me in! I'll go to the library and knock off some homework while you practice.”
Michael still looked nervous. “I hope the joke's not about me?” he said.
“Oh, no.” Lie, lie, lie. “It's aboutÂ .Â .Â . buns!” I blurted. Oh no! Even worse! And I felt my face turning red. “But not your buns! I mean. Oh gosh. JustÂ .Â .Â . I'll see you after school.” I turned on my heel like an idiot and raced off.
“Bye, Sam!” Bob called after me. How mortifying. He'd witnessed the whole thing! But at least he wasn't anonymous anymore.
I turned around and waved with a dorky smile. “Bye, Bob! Thanks for the chips!”
“Anytime!” he replied.
I had fifteen minutes before my next class, so I took the opportunity to pop into Trigger's office.
He was there.
“Hey, Mr. Trigg!” I called, crossing the newsroom.
“Ms. Martone! I'm so happy to see you! Do come in!” he replied.
I went and stood in his doorway as I had countless times before.
He pushed back his chair and clasped his hands across his middle. “Ms. Martone, what a wonderful issue of the
Cherry Valley Voice
we have this week. And much thanks are due to you.”
I could feel myself blushing. “It wasÂ .Â .Â . an interesting process,” I said.
“Not an ideal one,” said Mr. Trigg sadly.
“Is the girlÂ .Â .Â . is she going to be all right?” I asked in a whisper.
Mr. Trigg nodded firmly. “Yes, in fact, she was relieved to have been brought in and given some help. Now she's on a better track.”
“I just feel so guilty all the time,” I said, wincing as I thought of the pain I'd accidentally caused Scott Parker.
“Ms. Martone, none of this was your fault. It had been going on for quite some time before you got involved. And your reaction to all of it has done a world of good for this community. Look,
weeding out the bad guys and calling them on their crimesÂ .Â .Â . That's what the very
“I guess,” I said. “It's not exactly objective journalism.”
“Pshaw!” said Mr. Trigg dismissively. “It's journalistic activism, and you're quite adept at it. I'd say you're one of the lucky few who has found her calling at quite a young age.” He smiled at me. “Now, in the words of the immortal Winston Churchill, âLet us go forward together.'”
I grinned. “Thanks, Mr. Trigg. Will do!”
As I left his office, that same old poster caught my eye and gave me the usual thrill.
Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.”
You're darn right
, I thought. I strode out the door to Earthonomics with a spring in my step. Life was good.
That afternoon, I left the library with butterflies in my stomach. I was going to Michael Lawrence's house! I ducked into the girls' room, combed my hair, and checked my teeth in the mirror (to
make sure there wasn't any food stuck in them). I pinched my cheeks to brighten them, and I smiled at myself. I felt happier than I had in more than a week.
Back in the hall I turned a corner to reach my locker, and ahead I spied a familiar figure, lounging by the water fountain. My heart skipped a beat.
“What's up, Paste?” called Michael. He looked supercute in his work-out clothes from football practice. His hair was tousled and his cheeks were pink, and I could see his arm muscles under his T-shirt sleeves.
“Hey, Mikey,” I said, very cool, but inside I was bursting with joy that this hottie was waiting for me.
“Ready for our plan?”
“Yup. Looking forward to it!”
Do not talk about buns, do not talk about buns
, I warned myself.
“Great, 'cause I'm tired of waiting!”
? I looked up at him quickly, and he was smiling at me.
“Are you?” I asked, my stomach clenching as everything came back to me.
“Nah, I could never get tired of waiting for you,” he said with a wink.
Then I fainted, and he had to revive me.
I giggled and hoisted my messenger bag onto my shoulder and wondered for about the hundredth time if he knew I was Dear Know-It-All. Well, if he does knowÂ .Â .Â . maybe that would be okay. As long as he doesn't blow my cover, and as long as he keeps looking this good and feeding me, I think we'll be all right.
“Let's hit it,” he said.
“Righty-ho!” I said, imitating Trigger. And we both laughed.
Well That Ends Well for Rookie Journo.
Hailey came over after soccer practice so I could help her with her
homework. We followed our usual routine: I offered Hailey a snack. She declined. I made
myself a snack. Hailey ate it. Then we got down to business. Talking about boys, that
“I get to write another article with superhunk!” I cried.
Hailey was munching on a cracker with melted cheddar cheese. “What else
is new?” she said, spraying crumbs all over her plate. “Oops!” She
laughed, spraying some more.
I rolled my eyes. “Why âwhat else is new'?” I
“You guys are totally a team at this point.
It's likeÂ .Â .Â . a given that you write everything together.
You're likeÂ .Â .Â . peanut butter and jelly.
LikeÂ .Â .Â . cheddar cheese and crackers!” Hailey laughed again and
crammed the last cracker in her mouth.
“You think?” I couldn't suppress my smile.
Hailey nodded, her mouth too full to speak.
“Really?” I could talk about this forever. I wondered if other
people thought we went together like that.
Finally Hailey swallowed. “Really,” she said, nodding her head
I grinned again. “Wow.”
“Are you going to ask him to dance?” said Hailey.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“At the school dance next Friday! Duh!”
started to panic. “How can it be? Already?” I jumped up and ran to the
calendar by the kitchen desk. There it was.
, it said in green ink.
My stomach got all clenchy, and I had to sit down.
“Aren't you psyched?” asked Hailey. “I am!”
“No. Definitely not psyched. More like terrified! What if no one asks me
I put my head down on my arms and shook it from side to side. I imagined
Martone a Born Wallflower.
“You'll be busy dancing with Scott Parker, and I'll be all by
“Scott who?” asked Hailey, perplexed.
I looked up. “Scott
? Hello? Crush of
your life? Obsession of the year?”
Hailey laughed. “Oh,
!” She waved her hand dismissively.
“I'm totally over him. He's too shy. Anyway, he had that weird
stalker, and I'm just going to stay away from him and that whole scenario with a
I had to laugh. “Okay, so who
to dance with?”
“You!” Hailey jumped up and turned on the iPod on the counter.
Hailey began doing a really funny dance, all rubbery arms with her head pumping up and
down. I couldn't help laughing.
Hailey stopped. “Why are you laughing? Do I look funny
“Wait, umÂ .Â .Â . I thought you were just fooling
“No, that's my real dance,” she said. “Is it bad? Do I
look like a total geek?”
“Oh! Oh no. Totally not. No. It's fine.
It'sÂ .Â .Â . well, Hailey, actuallyÂ .Â .Â . we have some
work to do.” I went over to the iPod. When I found a song I liked, I turned it way
up loud and began to dance.
“C'mon, just copy me,” I instructed.
Hailey watched me out of the corner of her eye and began trying to imitate my
moves. We shook our hips from side to side and gave a little wiggle to the right, a
wiggle to the left, and I pumped my bent arms at my side.
Hailey and I looked at each other, and I knew we were thinking the same thing.
We need dance lessons! And fast!
loves to give advice. When
she's not editing or writing children's books, which she does full time
at a publisher in New York, she's reading advice columns in newspapers,
magazines, and blogs, and is always sure her advice would be better! Her dream is to
someday have her own talk show, where she could share her wisdom with millions of
people at once; but for now she's happy to dole out advice in small portions
in Dear Know-It-All books.
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Jacket design by Laura L. DiSiena
Jacket illustrated by James
Jacket illustrations copyright Â© 2012
by Simon &
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