Moon White: Color Me Enchanted with Bonus Content (9 page)

BOOK: Moon White: Color Me Enchanted with Bonus Content
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I give my little white bag a squeeze and smile back at him. I can’t believe what’s happening just now. I mean, only a week ago, my life seemed pretty pathetic and painfully boring, and suddenly everything’s changing. Just like magic!

eight

L
ATER THAT NIGHT
, L
IZ AND
I
DECIDE WE

LL DRESS UP FOR THE PARTY
. W
ELL
, not too dressy. But Liz’s closet is like a miniature boutique and, lucky for me, we both wear about the same size in both clothes and shoes. So she insists on picking out an outfit for me, deciding on a soft red-and-black rayon skirt that’s got some “kick” in it and a clingy black top, complete with black strappy high-heeled sandals that I’m guessing cost a bundle.

“You look totally hot,” she says as I stand in front of the mirror.

“And this will be fun to dance in too,” I say as I give a little twirl. “You think we can get those boys to dance?”

“We’re dancers, aren’t we?”

I laugh. Then she holds up several things to choose from for herself. We finally decide on the purple outfit and gold shoes. “Purple looks more autumnal than the pink,” I tell her. “Augustine will appreciate that.”

Then we stay up late watching a new DVD and talking about boys. Liz has already had a couple of fairly serious boyfriends, and she’s surprised when I admit that I haven’t.

“Why not?” she asks.

I consider this. “I’m not sure. I guess it might have something
to do with Lucy.”

She frowns. “Lucy? What? Is she gay or something?”

I laugh. “No, but her parents are really conservative, and she’s only allowed to date boys from her church, and then only if it’s with a group.”

“Pretty limiting.” Liz pops a chip into her mouth.

“Yeah. And since Lucy wasn’t dating, well, I guess it was easier for me not to date either.”

“Looks like times, they are a-changing.”

We decide not to stay up too late, since we both want to make sure we get enough beauty sleep to look our best tomorrow. Then, after a quick breakfast in the morning, I tell Liz that I better go home and see if Augustine needs a hand before it’s time to go to the soccer game.

“I’ll pick you up a little before two,” she says.

When I get home, I help Augustine by hanging her little glass lanterns in the trees outside. Then we start putting out the tables and chairs that she rented. She wants them arranged in groups of four and eight. “This is looking good out here,” I call out to her from across the yard.

“And the weather is promising,” she calls back. “This might turn out all right.”

As we hang strings of little white lights around the deck, I imagine Hudson and me dancing here tonight. Then Augustine and I put more lights around the gazebo where the band will play.

“I think that about does it for out here,” says Augustine, proudly looking around at her efforts. “It should look dreamy by tonight.”

“Liz is going to be here to pick me up in a few minutes,” I tell her. “Mind if I get ready now?”

“Not at all. Thanks for the help, sweetie.”

“I can’t wait to see how it all looks tonight,” I say as I head into the house. “I think it’s going to be a magical evening.”

I hurry to my room and quickly change into shorts and a sweatshirt. The weather is really warm today, and since I still have some summer tan left on my legs, I think,
Why not show it off?
I’m just putting my hair into a fresh ponytail when I hear Augustine calling my name.

“Liz is here,” she says.

I hurry downstairs in time to see Liz admiring some of Augustine’s decorations. “Wow, you’re really good at this.”

“She’s an artist,” I remind her. “When we have more time, I’ll show you some of her work.”

“My studio will be open for visitors tonight,” says Augustine. “Just in case any potential customers show up.”

“I think this is a multipurpose party,” I tease as Liz and I leave.

“That’s about the only reason my parents entertain,” says Liz as we get into her car. “It’s always about business and schmoozing.”

“I’m not going to be like that when I’m grown-up,” I say as I lean back into Liz’s cushy leather seat.

Soon we’re at the soccer field, yelling and screaming for our team, and I think our efforts are paying off, because by the end of the second half, it looks like they’re going to win.

“Hudson is really good,” says Liz after he scores a difficult goal. And, okay, something about the way she says this and the way she’s looking at him right now seriously worries me. Now we haven’t really said anything specific about this, but I assume that she knows
I’m the one interested in Hudson
. And it seems perfectly clear that Porter is extremely interested in her. He already ran up and hugged her when we got here. Oh, he hugged me too, but only afterward, sort of like a second thought.

Hopefully, we won’t have any problems with this. Still, I’m not too sure, and it’s undeniable that Hudson is hot. Especially in those soccer shorts. I mean, Porter is okay. He’s cute and has a great personality. But Hudson is the only one I’m interested in. I reach into my hoody pocket and give my little white bag a hard squeeze, running the words of my ritual poem through my head five times. Numbers are important and meaningful. And I happen to know that the number five is good for challenges as well as passion. In fact, I’ve decided that it’s my favorite number. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my birthday is the fifth day of the fifth month. That should make me very lucky in love. Still, I don’t want to leave anything to chance. Certainly not Hudson Schwartz.

When the game is over (our team wins), the guys eventually wander away from their victory party on the field to join us.

“Thanks for coming and cheering us on,” says Hudson.

“Hey, it was a lot more fun than cheering for the football team last night,” I point out.

“Well, it must’ve helped,” says Porter. “We weren’t supposed to beat this team today.”

“You guys are really good,” observes Liz. “I’m impressed.”

“And now don’t forget your promise to come to my stepmom’s party,” I tell them. Then I hand Hudson a small card, where I’ve carefully written the address and the time. “Just so you don’t get lost.”

He laughs. “Hey, this isn’t too far from where I live.”

“Well, go figure.” I act surprised, although I’m well aware of where he lives. I’ve known it for years.

Then we tell them good-bye and that we’ll see them later, and we leave. I feel flushed with excitement as Liz drives away. I can’t believe how well this is all going or how on track my life seems to
be. Even so, I know that it’s not just a coincidence or dumb luck. It’s like I’ve taken control of things, and instead of my life running over me, I’m running it. And I think I’m doing a pretty good job too.

“See ya around seven,” says Liz as she drops me off.

“Be ready to dance,” I call as I get out.

“You too!”

Augustine doesn’t seem as relaxed as when I left her. In fact, she’s running around and acting pretty frenzied.

“Everything okay?” I ask.

“No!” she snaps. “The caterer was supposed to be here by four and I haven’t heard a word from her and she’s not answering her phone. Plus I’d planned on cleaning the bathrooms by now, but I got a call from my agent, and that took more than an hour, and now it’s almost five and I haven’t even had a shower and my hair is a — ”

“Look,” I tell her. “I’ll clean the bathrooms. You go take a shower.” I glance around the messy kitchen. “I’ll straighten up in here too. And if the caterer calls, I’ll find out what’s up. Just relax and get yourself ready, okay?”

She nods and gives me a weak smile. “Yes, of course, I don’t know why I’m getting all worked up about everything. I just want this to turn out perfectly. Do you know that we have about forty people coming?”

“That should be fun.”

“I’ll try to hurry.”

“Take your time.” Relieved to have her gone, I clean the kitchen first, just in case the caterer decides to show. After that I quickly straighten up the two relatively clean downstairs bathrooms. I’m guessing that upstairs will be mostly off-limits. But just in case, I decide to clean my bathroom too. I’m just on my way up when the caterer pops in through the back door, yelling, “Hello? Anyone
home?” It’s 5:45 and this woman seems a little harried too, but she’s nice and apologetic. So I quickly show her around and help her unload some things from her van.

“Most everything is already prepared,” she tells me as she slides a big aluminum tray into one of the preheated ovens. “I hope Augustine isn’t too stressed by this. I did get her messages, but when I called back, the line was busy.”

“She was on another call. Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be okay now that you’re here,” I assure her.

“Oh, thank goodness!” cries Augustine as she comes in to find the caterer fast at work. “I was so worried, I was making myself sick.”

Then I excuse myself and leave the remainder of the party in Augustine’s hands. I have no idea where my dad is right now, but I don’t blame him for laying low. I think I’d have done the same if I’d known that Augustine was going to be so stressed by all this. After all, I remind myself, this party was her idea.

I treat myself to a bubble bath and a full beauty-treatment regime. Then I light some candles and take out my little white bag of what I’m now calling my “passion potion.” I wish there was a way I could keep it with me tonight, but my outfit has no pockets and I don’t need to carry a purse. The bag is too big to try to wear under my clothing. Then I remember a gold locket that belonged to Mom. She gave it to me before she died. I take it out and open it. Inside is a space that’s big enough to hold a very small stone and some of the herb mixture. I carefully remove the picture of Mom that she put in it, tucking it into a corner of my jewelry box so that I can put it back later. I fill the inside of the locket with some of my passion potion and then fasten it around my neck. It actually looks nice against the black top. And I decide to wear some gold hoop earrings to go with
it. Tonight I will wear my hair loose. I even take the time to curl the ends, which I think looks rather romantic.

As I go down the stairs I hear a low whistle, which I know belongs to my dad. I turn and make a mock bow, then thank him.

“You look lovely, Heather.” He smiles and gives me a hug, then lowers his voice. “It’s sweet of you to humor Augustine tonight.”

I don’t admit to him that I didn’t do this for Augustine. “She’s gone to a lot of work, Dad.”

It’s just getting dusky as Augustine and I light the little white candle jars that are hanging from the trees. “It’s like a fairyland out here,” I say as I look around. “Very pretty.”

She nods with satisfaction. “It is, isn’t it?”

“I like what you did with those leaves and branches,” I say, pointing to one of her autumnal arrangements. “Clever.”

“I thought we needed some color.”

The jazz band is already warming up, and I have to admit that they’re pretty good. Okay, maybe it’s not a typical teen sort of party — not that I’d like something like that anyway. But I think this actually has a lot of class. I hope that Hudson doesn’t think it’s dumb. At the thought of him, I touch my locket and silently repeat my poem five times. Then I go down to the basement for a short break of centering exercises. I know that it’s already past seven, but I feel the need to get in touch with my spiritual energy, a need to be empowered.

“Anyone down there?” calls a voice that sounds like Liz.

“I’m coming,” I call back, turning on the light and blowing out the candles.

“What are you doing down here?” she asks as I meet her halfway up the stairs.

“Just meditating,” I say.

“Cool.”

“Yeah. It’s a good way to relax and get centered.”

“So are you?”

“Relaxed and centered?”

“Yeah. Did it work?”

I take in a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Actually, it did.”

There are quite a few people here now, but Hudson and Porter haven’t arrived yet. I hope they didn’t change their minds. Liz and I hang together, and after a while, we actually get up and start to dance to a jazz song. We start out doing something that resembles the foxtrot, but it quickly turns into something more like jazz ballet. And when the song ends and we stop, we are surprised by the applause.

“More, more,” calls out one of my dad’s associates.

We both laugh, then gracefully bow, backing away from the dancing deck.

“That was really good,” says another male voice off to our left. Then we turn to see Hudson and Porter standing in the shadows.

“Very well done,” says Hudson. “Are you girls professional dancers?”

“We both do ballet,” I tell them.

“We’re ballerinas,” says Liz with a cute giggle.

“It looked like you knew what you were doing,” says Porter. “I know I’m impressed.”

“So how about you guys?” I ask. “Do you know how to dance?”

“Not like that,” says Hudson.

“Of course not,” says Liz. “Now that would be weird.”

“There’s food and stuff in the kitchen,” I tell them.

BOOK: Moon White: Color Me Enchanted with Bonus Content
4.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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