Stacey And The Mystery Of Stoneybrook

BOOK: Stacey And The Mystery Of Stoneybrook
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BSC035 - Stacey and the Mystery of Stoneybrook - Martin, Ann M.

 

Chapter 1.

As the train started up, I sat back in my seat, leaned my head against the window, and smiled to myself. On the surface it might seem as if I, eighth-grader Stacey McGill, had the perfect life. Most of the time I live in lovely old Stoneybrook, Connecticut. That's where my train was headed. I go to a great school, have tons of friends, and belong to the best club in the world — but more about that later.

Every now and then, though — pretty much whenever I feel like it — I get to go on a "Fun-Filled Action-Packed All-Expenses-Paid-Week-end in the Glamorous Big Apple, New York City!" as they say on the game shows.

That's how it looks on the surface. And, I'll admit, I
had
just had a terrific weekend in New York. But as soon as you peek beneath the surface of my life, you'll see that it isn't quite as ideal as it looks. Maybe you've guessed by now that the reason I go back and forth between Stoneybrook and New York is that my parents are divorced. When they broke up, my mom and I moved to Stoneybrook, and my dad stayed in the city. The split happened pretty recently, and believe me, it was not Fun-Filled, although it was kind of Action-Packed. Before they split up, my parents fought a lot — not physically or anything, but all that yelling really got to me.

How did my mom and I end up in Stoneybrook? Well, thaf’s kind of complicated, but here goes. I grew up in New York City, and in a way I'll always consider it my home. I love all the excitement. I also love eating out, going to shows, and . . . shopping! There's no place like New York for great clothes. I still shop there, which means I look pretty sophisticated in Stoneybrook. For example, I had dressed for my train ride in a white jumpsuit, layered over a blue tank top. I had on white push-down socks with blue hearts all over them, a wide blue patent leather belt, and a wild necklace made of all kinds of plastic sea creatures in a rainbow, of colors.

Oops. I think I got off the track there a little. Where was I? Okay, so I grew up in New York, but then when I was in seventh grade my dad's company transferred him to their Connecticut office. And then, a year later, just as

I'd really begun to feel at home in Stoneybrook, they transferred him
back
to New York. Can you believe it?

It wasn't long after we'd moved back to the city that I noticed how my parents seemed to be fighting all the time. And you can guess the rest of the story.
They
decided to get divorced,
I
decided to move back to Stoneybrook with my mom (instead of moving to the Upper East Side with my dad), and that's why I was on that train, thinking about my weekend in New York.

The first great thing about the weekend was that my dad had taken the whole day off on Saturday just to be with me. I know, you're thinking, What's the big deal? Nobody works on Saturday. Nobody except my dad. I guess he's what you'd call a workaholic. That was one of the things he and my mom used to fight about: how his job was more important to him than his family, how he was never home. . . . But on
this
Saturday, I guess it was important to him to show me a good time, because that's what he did.

We started the day by going out to brunch, to this little cafe I've always loved. All the waiters are really cute, and you can get any kind of omelette you want. The food is excellent, but what I really love is the cappuccino.

(That's coffee with foamy hot milk in it and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Yum.) I'm not usually allowed to drink coffee, but my dad always lets me have a little of his cappuccino.

After brunch we just walked around for awhile, window shopping and people watching. You never know who or what you'll see in New York. At one point, as we were crossing Fifth Avenue, I looked to my right just in time to see Gary Rockman (he is the hottest — and most gorgeous — star around right now) jump into a cab. I nearly died!

My dad knows that one of my favorite stores is Fiorucci, so when we got near it he suggested that we go in. He told me to pick out anything I wanted. For a second, I considered taking him at his word and asking him to buy me this outrageous purple suede jacket. Was it beautiful! Cropped short at the waist and covered with fringe all up the arms and across the back. But I did the mature thing (silly me!) and picked out a wild pair of sunglasses — heart-shaped ones, in a black-and-white checkerboard pattern. Claudia (my best friend in Stoneybrook) will love them, I know.

We walked and shopped some more, and by 5:00 we were starving, so we decided to go out for dinner. Dad let me choose the restaurant, so I picked Hunan Supreme, this Chinese

place in our old neighborhood. We know the owner there, Mr. Lee, and the food is great.

Our meal was delicious, but I have to say that dinner was not my favorite part of the weekend. Here's why: When our food came, I started to dig in, but Dad just sat there looking worried.

"Are you sure those noodles are okay for you to eat, honey?" he asked.

That might seem like a silly question, but he actually had a good reason to ask it. I'm a diabetic. I have to be really careful about what I eat, when I eat it, and how many calories it has. If I'm not careful, my blood sugar gets all out of whack, and I can get seriously ill. I also have to take insulin every day. I give myself the shots, which sounds horrible, but it really is no big deal once you get used to it. When I first got diabetes, my parents were constantly fussing over me. They made me nuts. But by now they basically know that
I
know how to take care of myself.

Unfortunately, though, I'd recently been told by my regular doctor that I'd have to be even
more
careful with my diet and with taking just the right amount of insulin. I guess my body is going through some changes right now that make it hard for everything to stay in balance.

So there I was, about to take another bite of my noodles. I
do
know that they're okay for me to eat, of course; otherwise I'd never have ordered them. Who wants to get sick? Then my dad spoke up again.

"I think you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Werner for the next time you visit me."

Dr. Werner is my diabetes specialist. I don't have to see her regularly — just when there's a special problem.

I hate it when my parents start worrying about my diabetes. I don't feel sick all the time, and I can't stand being treated like an invalid. To tell you the truth, it scares me a little when they make a federal case out of my diabetes. It reminds me that I do have a serious illness.

"Dad, it's under control. Come on! Don't you think I know how to take care of myself? I'm a big girl now, remember? I'm not your little boontsie anymore." ("Boontsie" is what my dad calls kids who are at that really cute big-tummy, bowlegged stage, around two or three.)

He softened. I could tell I'd put off having to see Dr. Werner for awhile, anyway.

"No, you're not my little boontsie anymore, are you, Anastasia?"

He's the only one who gets away with calling me that. I know, it is my real name, but really. Anastasia?

So that was my big weekend in New York. On Sunday I woke up late in my dad's apartment. I could hear him clicking away at his computer keyboard in the room next to mine. I should have known he couldn't stand to take the
whole
weekend off. I started to get a little mad at him — after all, it
was
Sunday — but just then the doorbell rang.

I threw on my bathrobe and ran for the door. It was my best-friend-in-New-York, Laine Cummings, carrying a huge, bulging bag from Zabar's. Zabar's is only the most incredible deli in the world. Everybody goes there on Sunday mornings to get bagels, fresh cream cheese, and all kinds of other goodies.

Laine and I pulled everything out of the bag, arranged it on the table, and proceeded to eat and gossip until it was time for me to catch my train.

I'd just started thinking again about that purple jacket, when the conductor came strolling through the car.

"Stoneybrook, all for Stoneybrook, get off here!" he said.

I jumped off the last step of the train right into my mother's arms. She gave me a huge hug.

"I've missed you so much, sweetie! How was your weekend?"

As we walked to the car, got in, and started home, I gave her a blow-by-blow account of my visit to New York. As she listened to the details of that wonderful Saturday I could see her mouth tighten a little.

"Do you mean to tell me that he
really
took the entire weekend off?" she asked. "I can't believe it."

I hadn't told her about the computer sounds that morning, but I didn't want to go into it now, even though I could see that I hadn't made her feel so great by telling her all about the terrific time I had.

"Mom, I missed you, too. Let's go into the city together sometime soon. Remember how much fun we used to have in the cosmetics department at Bloomingdale's?"

She laughed. I'll bet she was thinking of the day we tried on at least fourteen different types of perfume each.

As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I ran up to my room to unpack. It was good to be back — after all, Stoneybrook is really my

home for now. After dinner, I called Claud to tell her about my weekend.

"Oh, Stace, I can't believe you didn't at least
try
for the jacket!" she cried. (Claudia loves clothes as much as I do. Maybe even more.)

"But wait'll you see my sunglasses. They're to die for, I'm telling you."

We talked for awhile until my mom called up the stairs to let me know that it was time to get off the phone.

" 'Bye Stace! See you in school tomorrow," said Claudia.

"And at the meeting, too," I reminded her.

Claudia and I, along with our other Stoneybrook-best-friends (all five of them!) belong to the Baby-sitters Club. The club is really a business — a baby-sitting business, of course — but I'll tell you more about it later.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I headed up to bed. I was beat! Those "Fun-Filled Action-Packed Weekends" sure can take a lot out of you.

Chapter 2.

I'd been planning to walk over to Claudia's for the Baby-sitters Club meeting the next day, but for some reason I'd been running late from the second I got up that morning. I guess I'm not used to going back and forth between my two "worlds" — New York and Stoneybrook. It takes me awhile to readjust every time I come back from a weekend away.

I started out the day by oversleeping. I gobbled my breakfast, threw on any old outfit I could find (the same white .jumpsuit with a
pink
shirt and — oops! — red socks), and practically ran all the way to school. It seemed as though I was rushing around all day, and now here it was, almost 5:30, dub meeting time, and I was still at home.

I grabbed my bike and hopped on. I knew I could still make it on time if I pedaled fast. As I rode, I thought about everyone I would see over at Claud's. I'd really been lucky to

find so many great friends when I moved to Stoneybrook. If it hadn't been for the Babysitters Club, my life would sure be different.

The BSC was all Kristy's idea. That's Kristy Thomas, president of the club. She's always coming up with excellent ideas, but this one has to be the best.

It all started at the beginning of seventh grade. At the time, Kristy lived with her mom; her two older brothers, Sam and Charlie; and her little brother, David Michael. Her mom was divorced: Kristy's dad walked out on the family years ago. Kristy never even sees him. Isn't that awful? I thought my parents' divorce was the pits, but at least I get to
see
my dad pretty often.

Anyway, Kristy and her brothers used to baby-sit for David Michael most of the time, but when they couldn't, Mrs. Thomas would have to make a ton of phone calls to try to line up a sitter. One night as her mom was doing this, Kristy had one of her Brilliant Brainstorms. What if parents could reach a whole bunch of experienced sitters with just one call?

And so the Baby-sitters Club was born. Kristy got together with Claudia, as well as Mary Anne, who lived across the street and was Kristy's best friend. They immediately decided that they needed more than three people in the dub, so Claud suggested me. We had met in school and were already becoming friends. Claudia was elected vice-president, mainly because we hold our meetings in her room. Plus she has her own phone with a private line — very important for the dub. Mary Anne became secretary because she's neat and organized, and I took on the office of treasurer, because I'm good at math. We'd meet three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. During our meetings parents would call us to line up sitters.

The dub has worked perfectly since Day One, but believe me, it has been through some major changes, and so have all its members. I'm not the only one who feels like my whole life has been turned inside out and upside down in the last year or so. Also, the BSC has grown a lot since it started. Besides the original members, there're now also Dawn, Jessi, and Mallory. Not to mention Logan and Shannon . . . but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Let me go back to Kristy. Besides being brilliant, Kristy can also be bossy at times, and occasionally (I hate to say it) a little babyish. Kristy's small for her age and is kind of a tomboy. She wears the same thing every day: jeans, a turtleneck, a sweater, and running

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