Authors: Allison Rushby
Allison Rushby's childhood dream was to be a ballerina with pierced ears. She forgot to study ballet past the age of six, but got the pierced ears and instead began a writing career as a journalism student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. Within a few months she had slunk sideways into studying Russian. By the end of her degree she had learnt two very important things: she didn't want to be a journalist and â¦well, okay, maybe just one important thing. (Maths was never her strong point.)
A number of years spent writing for wedding magazines almost sent her crazy. After much whingeing about how hard it would be, she began her first novel. That is, her boyfriend told her to shut up, sit down and get writing. It worked, because Allison has since had seven novels published (but sadly, that boyfriend now thinks he knows what he's talking about all the time).
These days Allison writes full-time, mostly with her Devon Rex cats, Vi and Flo, purring contentedly on her lap. (Okay, not quite true â they're usually on the floor trying to gouge each other's eyes out.)
You can read more about Allison, her freaky cats and smarty-pants partner at
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How To Date A Millionaire
Random House Australia Pty Ltd
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First published by Random House Australia 2006
Copyright Â© Allison Rushby 2006
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
National Library of Australia
How to date a millionaire.
For secondary school students.
ISBN 978 1 74166 169 9 (pbk).
1. Life change events â Juvenile fiction. I. Title. (Series: Living blonde; v.3).
Cover photograph courtesy of Getty Images
Cover and internal design by Ellie Exarchos
Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend
The Seven Month Itch
âAre you finished with that, Nessa?' Holly stares at my Fluffernutter with greedy eyes.
I look down at the thin white bread spread with peanut butter on one side and marshmallow fluff on the other. Disgusting. I hadn't wanted it in the first place, but I'd been dragged out of my bed at 9.30 pm, where I was happily digesting my roast dinner and the latest Harry Potter, and led unceremoniously uptown (almost in my pyjamas) to Peanut Butter & Co. Holly had practically shouted the order from inside the cab (a Fluffernutter for me, the Elvis for her â an even more disgusting, if that's possible, peanut-butter sandwich with bananas, honey and bacon, grilled). Scarily, she had downed poor old Elvis in less than a minute.
âSure, I'm finished,' I tell her, gesturing towards the untouched dead peanuts in front of me. âGo ahead. You need your, um â¦ protein. There's protein in nuts.'
I'm not sure why she needs the marshmallow fluff. To keep her energy levels up? Not surprisingly, she doesn't need telling twice and I watch her down the Fluffernutter even faster than the Elvis. In fact, everyone in the whole restaurant watches Holly down the Fluffernutter. They also watch the paparazzo outside the window take photos of her downing the Fluffernutter, in case she ever wants to relive this moment (not likely).
Snap, snap, snap.
Smack. Holly sits up with a lick of her lips, having finally finished the tenth meal of the day (which, incidentally, may not be her last). I watch her face as she suddenly becomes a little more aware of her surroundings. Of the people watching her. And of the paparazzo outside, gleefully counting how much money he's going to make from the pictures of Holly â Hollywood's highest-paid actress â stuffing her face with an artery-hardening high-calorie midnight snack.
âWhat?' She turns around and shoots everyone in sight
a filthy look. âYou've never seen a pregnant woman eat before? And it's not just one baby. I'm having
you know. I'm eating for three here.'
She turns back to me now, still frowning.
I nod, sagely. âWhich means you need your protein.'
Holly turns back around once more and speaks up for herself. âYes. Exactly. I need my protein.'
âTry tofu!' someone pipes up from the back of the restaurant.
Uh oh. I jump out of my seat before Holly gets scary again. She's been getting scarier and scarier lately. Mostly as she gets larger and larger (and boy is she large â at seven and three-quarters and a bit months pregnant, Holly looks like she's shoved a fit ball, rather than a beach ball, up her shirt).
âLet's go,' I say quickly. âI'm tired. Really, really tired.' I bad-act a big yawn.
Down below, Holly stops baring her teeth and growling at Tofu Man and suddenly deflates. âI'm so fat,' she wails, her head dropping into her hands. âI'm sooooo fat.'
I decide not to try my âYou're right, Holly, you're sooooo
!' line on her again. She'd thought it was funny the first time, but it hadn't gone down so well the other trillion and two. Instead, I reach down and grab one of her elbows and try to lug her up. âYou're not fat. You're just seven and three-quarters and a bit months pregnant. With twins.'
âI'm soooooooooo fat.' The waterworks turn on now (and hey, sorry if I don't sound sympathetic, but as much as I love Holly, this is the fifth âI'm soooooooooo fat' crying session today. You kind of get used to it after a while).
âDon't listen to him. You look beautiful, love,' a guy pipes up from behind the counter of the restaurant. Which is nice, but he probably just wants Holly back tomorrow ordering peanut-butter snacks for three (four, if you count me) again.
âYou're as stunning as ever, Holly,' someone else adds.
âGorgeous!' another person chimes in.
âShut up about your stupid tofu,' another person tells tofu man.
Holly lifts her head up wanly.
A woman sitting at the table beside us leans over.
âI gained half my weight again when I was pregnant. The trick is to breastfeed. I lost it like that.' She snaps her fingers.
Holly looks at the woman's slender arms thoughtfully. âReally?'
âShe's right,' a woman two tables over agrees. âThat happened to me too. Don't you worry about it, Holly. The important thing right now is your babies. If you're craving peanut butter, it's because your babies are telling you they need peanut butter. Concentrate on giving them what they need, not on keeping slim.'
Holly sits up sprightly in her chair now, as if she's just seen the light, her eyes suddenly dry. âYou're right!' she says, before turning back to me. âShe's right!'
Again I nod sagely. Tired, I slide back down into my chair once more and watch as Holly's mood changes for the umpteenth time today, a slight frown crossing her face. âWhat's the matter?' I ask her.
âHmmm.' She picks up the menu, perusing it thoughtfully. âDo you think I should get some ants on a log, to go? I mean, if the babies are asking for peanut butter â¦'
Oh boy. I resist the urge to groan. Sure. Because the
babies are asking for celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter and topped with raisins, just like they recited the Peanut Butter & Co. menu to themselves on the cab ride over here by memory and greedily decided on the Elvis (we've been here a lot recently). But then I see Holly's sad little face looking for my approval. She's humungous. And hungry. And very, very pregnant. âI think you should.' I tell her what she wants to hear. âAfter all, there's celery involved and those babies need their vegetables.'
The commotion going on in the living room wakes me from my Spring Break sleeping marathon.
âWhat's going on?' I say grumpily, as I cross the parquetry floor to where Dad and Holly are sitting on the sofa, a million brochures spread before them on the coffee table.
My dad shoots me a look. âThe babies need a break.'
I shake my head and try to focus my eyes. Oh, right. The brochures are all travel brochures.
âA break from â¦?' I resist the urge to say Peanut Butter & Co., or the Lindt shop on Fifth. Or Prada (weirdly, they've been spending up big at Prada lately, but not at the flagship store on Broadway. Only at the one on Fifth. Either they're a pair of very picky handbag shoppers, or
they're making sure they don't stray too far from the Lindt shop).
Holly stands up as fast as a large pregnant woman can. âA break from all of this.' Her arms gesture dramatically.
Slowly, I look around the vast expanse of penthouse surrounding us. At the gorgeous furniture, at the stunning view of Manhattan, at Vera (the housekeeper) preparing a gourmet fruit salad in the background.
âUm, sure. Of course they do.'
Now it's my dad who nods sagely. Right answer, kiddo, his eyes tell me. I nod back at him. By now, both of us know better than to argue with the large pregnant woman.
âRight. That's it. Decision made.' Holly places an arm on the back of the sofa and lowers herself back down to a sitting position again. âHawaii. They want to go to Hawaii.'
âB or G?' These are our names for the babies â B for boy and G for girl, because we know Holly's having one of each. Weird, huh? In less than six weeks I'll go from being an only child to having a brother
a sister. When I think about it, my eyes go wide every time.
Holly thinks for a second. âIt's mutual.'
âWell, it's nice they get on together so well.'
âIt is, isn't it?' She smiles.
Yep, okay, scary. Remind me never to have kids. Especially two at once. What's been going on in Holly's head recently, I have no idea. I smile a quick smile right back at her. âNot a lot of room for arguing in there, I guess.'
âSo, should we go tonight?'
Now I'm really awake. âWe?' I glance from Holly to Dad.
âYou're coming, aren't you?' Holly says.
To Hawaii? No. Of course not. âYes!!!' I squeal and try valiantly not to jump up and down. Hawaii! I've always wanted to go to Hawaii.
âWhy don't you ring Alexa and see if she can come and keep you company? Just tell her to be here at five. I'm thinking nine nights and we'll pj it over. I can't risk hanging around in any dirty airport.'
Dad doesn't believe in pjs (well, he believes in pyjamas, just not in private jets). âNow, Holly â¦' My dad, ever frugal, places a hand on her arm.
âBut airports are so diiiiirty. And everyone stares at me.
And I'm soooooooooo fat.' Holly starts to cry as if the world's ending yet again.
And, with that, I make a mad happy dance dash for the phone to call Alexa. We're going to Hawaii. By pj.
âWho's Nat?' I grip the phone in my right hand.
Alexa sighs. âMy cousin. You know, the one from New Zealand. I've told you about her. She lives on a sheep farm. She's boy crazy.'
âDon't they have some kind of dip for that?'
Alexa laughs. âI think that might be for foot and mouth disease.'
âClose enough. You never know. It might help.' Maybe I should have a dip myself while we're dunking Nat? Things haven't been so great for me on the guy front lately.
âAlexa's okay to come along?' Holly yells from the living room.
âHang on,' I tell Alexa, then place my hand over the
mouthpiece so I'm not yelling in her ear. âShe can't,' I yell back at Holly sulkily. âShe's babysitting her cousin, Nat.'
âOh. Well, how old is Nat?'
âBring her along for the ride then. If it's okay with Alexa's and Nat's parents.'
All right! âDid you hear any of that?' I uncover the mouthpiece of the phone.
âI'll just go and ask.' Alexa plonks the phone down and runs off to beg like she's never begged before. She's back within a couple of minutes. âMy dad wants to speak to your dad.'
âOkay.' I get up off my bed and trot out into the living room still clutching the cordless. âWhere's Dad?' I ask Holly.
âIn the bathroom.'
âI'll give him to Holly instead,' I tell Alexa.
âNo!' Alexa cuts in quickly. âNot to Holly.'
Oh, yeah. I'd forgotten that when Holly had last bumped into Alexa's dad he'd regaled her with soothing tales of the latest archaeological dig he'd been on where they recovered some mummified twins who had died at
birth. The bozo had made her cry (not hard, but still â¦). Sometimes these professor types need to work on their emotional side. I know my dad's been working on his emotional side for a good seven and three-quarters and a bit months now and he's still not doing very well if Holly's hormones are anything to go by.
âIt's okay. He's here now,' I say as Dad returns to the sofa and starts tidying up the mound of brochures. âIt's Alexa's dad. He wants to talk to you about Hawaii.'
Dad takes the phone and talks father talk for a few minutes while I sit and watch and wait, my fingers crossed. And the answer is â¦
A nod here, a shake of the head there and it looks like a â¦
âYES!' He passes the phone back to me as Alexa and I scream the word together. We're going to Hawaii. By pj. Yay. But wait. Wait! âHave we got time to go tog shopping?' I say to both Holly, on the sofa, and Alexa, on the phone.
âWhat shopping?' they answer together.
shopping?' is the answer I get yet again, from both of them.
I frown, both at Holly and at the cordless phone. âYou know, togs. Now, should I get a bikini or a one-piece? Apparently one-pieces are really in at the moment and â¦' I pause as both Holly and Alexa crack up at the same time.
!' Despite the number of Manhattan blocks between them, they're very annoyingly in tune.
Passing by, my dad gives me a pat on my head. âI knew what you meant, honey.' Not saying anything, I watch him go. It's not exactly reassuring. Dad still believes his budgie-smuggler Speedos circa 1988 are wearable. âAnd I think you should get the one-piece,' he adds, heading for the kitchen.
My dad giving fashion tips (or, more likely, trying to cover up as much sixteen-year-old skin as is dadly possible). Right. That decides it. A bikini it is.
I drag Holly out and make her watch me try on bikinis, which is, of course, a big mistake. In our spandex haste (Holly needed some togs â sorry, I mean a
I sort of forgot that maybe pregnant-woman swimsuits might be a little, um â¦ hideous. I end up with a gorgeous lime-green hibiscus-flower bikini and a chocolate tankini, and Holly ends up with a very, very large piece of material with a built-in bra. It's navy with white spots and has a white bow on the front, on the high-cut neckline.
We don't talk about it on the cab ride home.
When we get back to the apartment, I leave Holly and her whale-sized swimsuit with Dad and hurry off to pack. Summer packing is great, isn't it? You don't even need that much. One decent outfit and a whole heap of T-shirts, shorts and a pair of jeans and you're practically done. Within half an hour I'm set to go and am almost panting by the door. Hawaii. By pj. Yay! I'm just praying B and G don't change their minds at the last minute and want to go on some vegan electricity-free back-to-nature squattie-worm-toilet retreat or something. Sitting on my bed, beside my suitcase, I glance at the time on my alarm clock. Quarter to four. I've still got just over an hour till Alexa and Nat turn up and we head off (to Hawaii, by pj, yay! Oh, sorry, did I already mention that? I think it might be time to take my
self-control pills). So, what to do? Maybe I should ring everyone to say good-bye?
No-one. I bite my lip, realising that maybe Dad and Holly are right for a change. They've been bugging me a bit lately because, over the past few months, I've become a little insular (their word, not mine. I misheard them at first and thought that they were talking about me being some kind of land jutting out into the sea, like a peninsula, but we cleared it all up pretty fast). So, yes, insular. In other words, a bit of a loner. And I guess, in some ways, I have been. I still see Alexa, of course. Heaps. It's just that after Dad and Holly got married (about ten months ago now), everything in my life really seemed to change. Marc, Holly's nephew, moved out of the apartment and went away to film school in LA. Holly's pregnant, of course, that's another thing that's changed. But the weirdest thing of all has been how much my own life has changed just because my dad got remarried (okay, so he married America's best-loved and highest-paid actress, but still â¦).
Almost overnight, as soon as those rings were on their
fingers, and Dad and Holly were in all the magazines, everyone wanted to be my best friend. Especially guys. Like Ben, who, it turned out, just wanted to meet Holly. And Ned, who also just wanted to meet Holly, and Justin, who â¦ well, you get the picture. It's because of Ben, Ned and Justin that I've been listening to my head more than my heart lately and spending most of my time with Alexa. And at home. Alexa and home are safe and make things feel a little more real. Less like the feeling that I turned my back and someone dropped the 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that is my life on the expensive parquetry floor and I can't remember what the picture looked like to put it back together again. Needless to say, over the past couple of months, I've learnt a lot about how people like Holly live their lives. Which led, only last week, to me getting The Talk (one of many, but this was the newest one in the The Talk line-up).
I think Holly and Dad picked up what was wrong with me, and why I was hanging around the house so much, quite fast. Especially as the Ben/Ned/Justin thing happened in quick succession. Holly sat me down (and didn't cry for five minutes! Or say that she was soooooooooo fat!)
and told me that, yes, I was right in that I needed to be careful, but that I also shouldn't let people like Ben, Ned and Justin stop me from letting new people into my life. She explained that she'd seen too many actors opt for the safe path I was choosing and end up with an inner-circle of yes men/women â their publicist, stylist, personal trainer etc â who they thought were their friends. But they weren't. Not really. They were simply on the payroll. She went on to say that real friends were hard to find, but they were out there. You just had to keep sifting through the trash to find the treasure. Even after a nasty break-up, or a fight, when it would be easier to stay home and wallow in your misery, you had to somehow find the strength within you to get out there and keep right on sifting. Which was how she'd found us. As in, me and Dad â her two treasures (this is where they went all gushy again, as they tend to do, and I had to leave the room).
Recently, I've thought a lot about what Holly said. I think she's right. It's like I learnt last year, in the lead-up to Holly and Dad's wedding. I was going just a little bit crazy with the wedding planning (just a
bit!), and Alexa told me a lot of things I didn't want to hear. That's how
I know Alexa's really my friend. She's always telling me things I don't want to hear. In fact, I can barely remember Alexa ever telling me something I
want to hear, that's how good a best friend she is. Whereas Ben, Ned and Justin â well, I didn't know it to start with, but all their smooth talk was leading somewhere â straight up to the apartment to meet Holly, as it turned out. So, yes, I might have been a bit reclusive lately, but at least I've got a reason. I've been protecting myself â trying to figure things out. All these new people who are interested in me? It's hard to know who to trust. I guess, as I also discovered last summer with the wedding, I just have to learn to trust myself. That I can deal with all this change that's being thrown my way. And I know I can. It's just hard sometimes to know what choices to make, I suppose. The choices I'm offered when I'm with Alexa (salt and vinegar versus sour cream and chives Pringles) and at home (
with Holly on the sofa) are much easier to make and I feel a bit more comfortable making them than choices of the Ben/Ned/Justin kind at the moment. I'll get there in the end, though. I know I will. I'll be sifting again in no time.