Authors: Julia DeVillers
“Fabulous!” Burkle said. “Report to VOGS next week. And, speaking of which, Kendra appears to have forgotten to interview someone integral to this show. Namely the director, me.”
She hustled off for her turn on camera.
“Yay!” I said to Emma. “No school service. We're free!”
“No,” Emma said, frowning. “
are free. I have to continue . . .”
“Counselor Case can't give you up, can she?” I asked her. “You're just too good at tutoring those twins.”
“But wait!” Emma's face brightened as she read further. “She added she's going to pay me to tutor the boys. And I make my own hours. Looks like I have a job! I'll be able to buy the new scientific graphing calculator!
“Did you just
over a calculator?” I shook my head.
“Hey, are you guys ready to go?” Nick asked. “I think people are heading over.”
“Go where?” I asked.
“Cast party,” Nick said. “You
“Oh, I didn't know about it,” I said. “You know, since I wasn't part of the cast or anything until tonight.”
“Oh, you were on the list,” Tess said. “Nick put you down as his guest weeks ago. Didn't you, Nick?”
“Er . . .” Nick looked uncomfortable. “Well, since Payton had helped under the stage she deserved to go to the cast party.”
“Hmm,” Tess said. “And that's the only reason?”
Nick blushed. Wait a minute. Oh! OH!
“Glar,” I said.
What was “glar”? Why did I say
Emma walked back over to us.
“Sorry, I need to borrow Payton for a minute,” Emma said.
“Okay,” Nick said. “If I can have her back for the cast party.”
Emma half-dragged me to the side of the stage.
“I thought you needed a minute to pull yourself together,” Emma said. “You were turning purple.”
“Me?” I asked. “
the one who turns purple when she talks to boys.”
“You're apparently getting us mixed up right now,” she said. “You're purple. Maybe you only turn purple when you talk to boys you
“Agh,” I said, and fanned my face. Nick? I liked Nick? Nick likes me?!
“What a crazy night,” Emma said. “It was quite impressive we pulled that off. Although, we should probably promise not to trade places
substitute for each other again,” Emma said. “Shouldn't we?”
“I don't know,” I said. “I think having two Paytonsâand zero Emmasâcould be a good thing. Two Paytons! No Emmas!”
“Hey!” Emma said. “You mean two Emmas and zero Paytons.”
“Two Paytons!” I said, laughing. “Two twins who have âstage presence' and also are one inch taller,” I added.
“Two twins with the shinier hair
exceptional math abilities,” Emma countered.
“Two PooPas and no MeeMas,” I added.
“Two Poopys,” Emma said. “Poopy.”
“Wow, genius response from the genius Emma.” I laughed. “Poopy?”
“Your nickname,” Emma said. “Remember? You told me they were calling you Poopy?”
“I don't remember that,” I pretended. “I think the great AcadEmma just likes saying Poopy.”
“Poopy,” Emma said. “Poopy. You're a poopyhead.”
“You've been hanging out with Mason and Jason too long,” I said.
“Doofus,” Emma replied, laughing.
“Are you two talking in your secret twin language again?” Tess came up to us, smiling.
“No, Emma's just losing it,” I said.
“If Emma can keep it together, we're all leaving for the cast party,” Tess told us. “Payton, Nick offered you a ride.”
I turned red. Okay, maybe a pale shade of purple.
“So, when you two both have boyfriends, will you switch places on them?” Tess asked.
Emma and I looked at each other.
“I'm not going to have a boyfriend for a long time,” Emma said. “At least officially.
So I'm going to focus on my true interest. Academics. And fashion websites. And, well, I do need some new shoes for the winter, so maybe a little shopping may have to be fit in. But not boyfriends.”
“And Payton can focus on her interests!” Tess said. “Auditioning for the next play! Being part of VOGS! Hanging out with me!”
“And boys,” both Emma and I said at the same time.
“Twinx!” we both shouted and then laughed.
“Buy me a soda,” I said to Emma.
“Tess will have to do it for me,” Emma said. “At the cast party. You guys have fun!”
“Oh, you're coming to the cast party, too, Emma,” Tess said.
“I am?” Emma asked her.
“Yeah. Officially, as my guest,” Tess said. “But, unofficially, well, it's for everyone who was in the play, right?”
And she looked at Emma. And she looked at me.
“Emma, you have a faint freckle on your cheek,” Tess said. And then she winked. “And Dorothy noticed Glinda did, too, at first . . .”
Busted. She totally knew we'd switched places onstage!
“Well,” Emma stammered. “There were emergency circumstances to our situation.”
“And,” I sputtered, “it's not exactly like we were
places. More like . . . substituting. And we're done with that. We're never doing it again!”
As Tess walked in front of us, laughing, I held out my pinky to Emma for a pinky swear.
Emma held out her pinky, too. But, we didn't link pinkies. No twinky swears on that one. Because stuff happens. And I guess you should never say “never”!
Double thanks to:
The family: Greg Roy, Adam Roy, Dave DeVillers, Quinn DeVillers, and Jack DeVillers.
The Simon & Schuster crew: Bethany Buck, Fiona Simpson, Mara Anastas, Alyson Heller, Paul Crichton, Andrea Kempfer, Lucille Rettino, Bess Braswell, Venessa Williams, Karin Paprocki, Katherine Devendorf, and Kathy Lovisolo.
The agents: Mel Berger and William Morris Endeavor Agency; Alyssa Eisner Henkin, and Trident Media Group.
And: Mark McVeigh, Lauren Heller Whitney, Anna DeRoy, Anne Elisa Schaeffer, Daphne Chan, Jen Corrigan, Crandall Public Library, and Columbus Metropolitan Library.
And: Thanks to Paige Pooler, our illustrator. Paige Pooler rocks!
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