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Slip! Owww…well I guess I wasn‟t the winner of my figure skating competition. Had I really fell on the most important jump of the performance? I quickly got up, embarrassed, but my coach had told me to keep going and to smile every time I embarrassed myself. So that‟s what I did. I swept through the rest of my performance and everyone clapped. Three words though…Worst…performance…ever.

Chapter 1

Sigh...My name is Julia Tyler. I am only nine years old and my mother makes me figure skate. I‟ve been at it for exactly five years and four months. I really do love to figure skate but for some reason…I‟ve only won one trophy. My mother tells me to just pretend like it‟s the first day I skated but that was too hard to believe, so it does not help at all. Also, since I have a summer birthday in August, I‟m in the fourth grade, and turning ten next year while everyone else turns ten this year. It‟s just not fair… After my mom dropped me off to school, I went off to my friend, Kylie. She was part of the audience to my figure skating competition yesterday. I ran over to her and she was smiling ear to ear. “Wow, wow, wow Julia! You did soooo well last night! You would have gotten that big humongous trophy from the famous Scott Hamilton…I mean if you didn‟t fall on the most important jump.” “Thanks for reminding me…” I replied, trying to make my face look dull. I guess she forgot that I really wanted that trophy for my collection of one trophy. What good was that? “Ok well anyways, let‟s get to class!” I didn‟t get it. Why was she always so hyper? It sometimes made me annoyed. We walked to class together, and I saw my teacher, Mrs. Faraday. She looked as if though she saw my performance last night. “Good morning, girls! Hello, Julia, you did really, really well on your competition last night!” How did she know? “Uh, thank you…did you really come?” She nodded. “I know you didn‟t get the trophy, and I know how ashamed you must be because you were doing so well until…you know…so anyways, I got you a prize of my own!” She said, and gave me a ribbon for being a good student, looking proud of me. I am so not adding this to my collection. I thought. “Ok, thanks Mrs. Faraday.” I mumbled I finished my class work and was reading my book about my favorite figure skater named Yuna Kim. Apparently, Mrs. Faraday saw me reading my book. She looked interested in almost everything I did! I saw her walking towards me and thankfully it was to take up my work. I didn‟t want her to look at everything I did that involved figure skating. First, she went to my competition, then she wants to give me a prize worth less than the trophy, and thankfully, she didn‟t do the third thing I had in mind. Read my Yuna Kim book. I loved this book…I have had it since I was four. Also the year I started to skate and take my first skating class. “Is everyone finished with their class work? You can all read your books until it is time to leave.” “Yes, Mrs. Faraday.” Chanted the class with Kylie being the loudest. I smiled at her cheerfulness.

Chapter 2

After school, Kylie was coming to my house for a sleep over. Today was Friday and my mom was taking her ice skating with me, after we ate dinner. “Hey, Julia,” Kylie asked. “Would you please help me with this math problem? Mrs. Faraday gives up evil math homework these days.” I hated how she always used expressions and figures of speech. “K,” I muttered. “What problem?” She jabbed at number five. “Kylie, it‟s just an ol‟ multiplication

problem, I‟m sure you could do it without me if you put your mind to it,” I encouraged. “…..Yeah! You‟re right! Ok! Thanks!” I didn‟t even know if she understood or not but I just moved on. I continued on with my homework but I couldn‟t hear Kylie‟s pencil writing. “Kylie, I bet you didn‟t even get what I was saying…” I commented with a dull look in my eyes. “No, it‟s not that I didn‟t get what you said, it‟s just…it‟s just….”she trailed off. “Come on, we‟re best friends! I tell you all my secrets and so do you!” “Ok! You got me. I met this girl named Britney. She‟s a new student in Mr. Green‟s class. She figure skates too and says she won a trophy just like you!” I didn‟t get her point. I shrugged. “So what? Like she‟s as good as me…just kidding! What‟s your point? We could be good friends. What‟s so bad about her?” “Well…she‟s always bragging about how good she is and she keeps saying she ice skates at the mall…the same mall as you. She said she‟s entering the very next competition, and not to mention the Christmas program.” Why was she making such a big deal? I could just avoid her! I shrugged again. “I‟ll just ignore her then, not a big deal. Now finish your homework.” But Kylie had a point. What if this Britney girl kept getting in my way? What if we both entered the Christmas program and she kept tripping me and making me miserable? Well, the show wasn‟t until Christmas after all, and I didn‟t even know Britney! Who knew? She could be nice! After Kylie and I finished our homework, my mom took us ice skating at the mall. I said hi to the workers and I started to tie on my skates. Then, a girl walked up to me from the ice with skates with pink covers. She also had bracelets and necklaces on. She had on a pale pink dress for figure skating and her hair was up in a neat pony tail. Her hair was bright blonde and she was very pretty, I had to admit. She greeted me…somewhat weirdly. She greeted me in such a way that I could totally tell that she was a brat. Just as Kylie had told me. Now, I believed her. Of how smug a girl can be. “So Kylie was right,” I muttered so quietly that even I couldn‟t properly hear myself. “Hey, you…I know you! You go to my school! Haha, you‟re probably wondering who I am. I met Kylie, your, uh, buddy? K, well anyways, I heard you‟re a figure skater as well as me. I bet you can‟t do this!” She went into the ice and did a double waltz jump. FYI a waltz jump is, it is a jump when you spin around twice in the air, and then land on one foot! Then she came skating back to me. Wow, even I can’t do that…the highest I can go is the one and a half jump. “Uh, that‟s cool, um, what‟s your name?” I asked, being pretty sure that it was Britney. “Me, I‟m Britney. Britney Black. I‟ve been figure skating since I was four. And you?” she asked in her bratty voice. I groaned quietly. “Julia.” I answered blankly. I didn‟t want to talk to her. “Kay, see you at school tomorrow…figure skating buddy!” oh my gosh! I thought. I didn‟t want to be her figure skating buddy first of all. And second, wouldn‟t Kylie feel left out? Oh well, just because Britney and I had so much in common, does not mean I have to end my friendship with my very best friend. Thinking about Kylie just made me smile. Suddenly, I saw Kylie and my mom coming from the skate rental counter with her skates in her hands. I just looked at them with no expression n my eyes as they came walking to me. Then Kylie grinned. “Ready to skate?” she asked me, grinning as if she were the most excited person on Earth. I just nodded and I walked in the skating rink as my mom helped Kylie tie her shoes. I practiced and got down most of my troubling moves. I occasionally helped Kylie when she fell down or tripped, but the only thing in my mind was Britney. It wasn‟t a big deal of course, but she was so much better than me and she started exactly when I started!

When it was time to leave, I took my skates off, barely talking to my mom or Kylie. I said bye to all my skating friends who worked at the rink and we drove home. Kylie was sleeping over and I wanted to put my mind off of Britney. Why was I being so competitive with her? I mean she can do a double waltz jump, but I would be learning that soon, so I shouldn‟t worry too much… Kylie and I had fun for the rest of the day. She really helped me take my mind off of Britney. We did a couple of prank calls, we ran around the house, seeing who can finish first, we even did an “I Spy” book and unfortunately, when it was time to sleep, Britney entered my mind again. I shrugged it off and went to sleep, with Kylie being on the small air bed on the floor and me on my original bed. I wanted to scream in my dream. Again, there was Britney. She was showing off her expensive watch that had real diamonds on the border of the clock and silver numbers. She also showed off her trophy that said 1 place Britney, and there was me. I was holding the 2 place medal in my hands. Then I felt a tear of anger roll down my cheek. She took out her phone and her ringtone rang. The same one as mine. Then I woke up. And there was my alarm from my phone ringing. I shut it off and told Kylie to sleep some more since it was 7:30 am. I quietly tiptoed downstairs and checked on my mother‟s bedroom and she was not there. I frowned. She must be at work. I thought. Yes. She goes to work and my father comes home at 9:00 to come take care of me. Ok. But, as I crept into the kitchen, I heard my mother‟s voice. And the worst nightmare ever, Britney‟s necklace making those bell sounds. I wanted to scream out,”NOOOO!” and I opened the kitchen door. I peeked in the kitchen, relieved to see my mother cooking and she had a necklace on. “Mom, you‟re supposed to be at work, I thought.” I wondered. “Well, since Rylie is here-“ “Kylie, mother, Kylie” I corrected her. She still couldn‟t get her name right? “Oh, yes, Kylie. Well, since she‟s here, I didn‟t want to go away for work. I told your father to stay at the office. But anyway, why are you up so early, Julia?” I shrugged and told her that I didn‟t feel like sleeping anymore. She said ok and she went off to work. I guessed her workers excused her for that. “Hey Julia! It‟s really early and I don‟t feel like sleeping. Plus, we can play more since I am leaving at 4:00.” “Ok. Here my mom made this for us. Let‟s eat breakfast first then we can play.” The rest of the day with Kylie went by pretty fast and Kylie went home. Right after that, my dad came. For that, I guess I was pretty happy since I practically never got to see my father. I ran up to him and give him a great big hug. “Hi Daddy! I missed you!” He chuckled. “I missed you too. The good news is that I will be here until after Christmas and so I can see your Christmas program!” did he just have to say that? I was so happy that he was finally here and he brings up the Christmas program? And the Christmas program would be with Britney. I exhaled sharply at the sound of her name. My dad looked at me with round eyes. “Something‟s wrong I can guess?” he asked. I sighed softly. I really shouldn‟t be thinking about this. Especially in my father‟s arms. We both sat down on the sofa. I sighed softly again. “Daddy, there‟s a girl…her name is Britney.” I began. He listened with narrowed eyes. “She is a figure skater too. She‟s so bratty and I don‟t like her. She figure skates and she can do a double waltz jump.” I was started to wail. “It‟s not fair! I started right when she did and she can do so much better than me! She skates at the mall just like me and she‟s going to enter the next competition and the Christmas program and she‟s going to ruin me!” I whimpered to him. He started shaking his head. st


“Julia, just because you had one single conversation with her, does not mean she is what you think she is.”

“But one conversation can tell you who someone is!” I argued. I was not going to lose this argument. He sighed softly and closed his eyes for two seconds. When he opened them he said to do what was comfortable to me. But right now, at the time, the only thing I wished for is that I had never ever met Britney Black and especially at my favorite place, the ice rink.

Chapter 3 I woke up to the horrible clattering noise of Britney‟s jewelry. Britney‟s junk for all I cared. Now, I was a little mad. I knew my father couldn‟t help me, Kylie couldn‟t help me because what could she ever do even though she was my very best friend? And I would never look for Mrs. Faraday for help because even though she was my teacher, she was just as bad as Kylie here. My mom was way too warm hearted to help me with a bratty situation. All I had was myself. I knew I could handle it but Britney was just too much with that single conversation! I knew I was just making a big deal, even though I just barely knew her, but all I could ever say when I thought of her was just…really bad. I ran downstairs and carelessly made myself a bowl of cereal. I chomped at it angrily and wrote down Britney about ten times on a blank piece of paper, then ripped the paper to tiny pieces. I stomped on them and smacked them and threw them in the trash. Man! Again, why is it such a big deal? It was just one conversation, just as Daddy said, Julia. Calm down before I make you do a bunch of push-ups! Now that thought made me smile because it reminded me of how Kylie would deal with me. Maybe she could be a little help. I laughed to myself. Kylie. The perfect solution. But would she help me if I kept getting angry? Well, Kylie is Kylie. She‟d help me whoever I was. I got my phone and called her. “Hello?” I heard Kylie‟s voice. “Kylie? Thank goodness it‟s you! I need your help!” “Ok, about what?” “I-I mean it‟s about Britney.” “Oh, come on, Julia! You only had one talk with her, I don‟t get why you want her to die so bad!” “Kylie, first off, I don‟t want her to die. I want her to know, get up all in my skating business. She‟s just like Mrs. Faraday! They just butt in to my figure skating skills! And I‟m pretty sure that Britney wants to ruin my skating career! I really don‟t want her to always be skating when I am to make me lose my confidence and make me feel bad that she‟s BETTER THAN ME!” “Ha-ha, Julia, she‟s not trying to show off, I‟m pretty sure. And plus, I really don‟t think she even knows about the Christmas program or the coming competition. She‟s so new!” Was Kyle defending Britney? “Well, you‟re the only one that I can look for to help me. I mean Dad just won‟t help me for some reason, I talked to him right after you left! Mom probably won‟t help because she is way too nice. My teacher won‟t help because she‟s all up in my business… and a friend is perfect and you‟re pretty much my only trusting friend. And if you‟re on Britney‟s side then I don‟t know what to do.” I took a big breath. Wow. Did I just say that without taking a breath? She sighed.”Ok I‟ll help. But what exactly do I do? Seriously, Julia? You are a really bad explainer.” “K, well, we‟ll talk about that in school tomorrow. Thanks bye.” I quickly hung up, smiling. Yes! I thought.

Now I don’t have to be alone with Britney following me around, blabbing about how good she is. My mom took me to school. I met Kylie and walked in together. Then, I saw Britney get out of her big Lexus car. Wow. Mom told me that those were expensive. I felt her gaze burning into my skin. I turned away bringing Kylie along with me. “Look there‟s Britney!” I pointed out. Kylie looked at her and smiled. I let my mouth drop open. “Hey, do you like her? Really. Because yesterday on the phone you were almost defending her and now you‟re smiling at her? Are you…friends?” She turned her gaze on me. “Did you really have to ask that? Of course I am totally on your side. There is no ways that I would ever like a snobby skater like her.” “You calling figure skating snobby” I asked her, my eyes filled with mischievous, giving my joke away. She elbowed me affectionately. “We should get to class.” “Like I want to see Mrs. Faraday. You know, nowadays she is always trying to get my figure skating books. I saw her reading my book about Yuna Kim! My favorite figure skater! She probably borrowed it from the library but still! It‟s really annoying now.” “Just ignore it. That‟s what I do when someone gets on my nerves.” Kylie replied. “Who could ever get on your nerves, Kylie?” I mumbled, really meaning what I said. We walked to class together and hung out backpacks on our assigned hooks. “Now that everyone is here, let‟s start out lesson about sports today.” Please not about figure skating. I thought. “Come up to the front of the room if you play a sport and are planning to be known as a famous athlete.” I slowly stood up and walked to the front of the room. Thank goodness Britney wasn‟t in my class because she‟d be saying, “I figure skate just like Julia and I am like sooo much better than her..” But taking my thought off of that, there were only nine kids up out of twenty-one. “Marie,” Mrs. Faraday started to the first person closest to her. “What sport do you play?” Uh –oh… when she gets to me I’m going to have to say figure skating and she’s probably going to question me about everything! I exhaled, frustrated. “I play tennis.” Marie replied. Mrs. Faraday went through the whole bunch of kids until she got to me. Her eyes brightened up. “Julia, I know what you play! Not play exactly but you figure skate don‟t you?” “Yes,” I muttered. “Well, class, please stay up in the front and everyone else, and please write the probability of the sports of the kids.” She walked over to her desk and got on her computer. Oh, so she’s going to make us stay here? Kylie, being right by me, was writing down a note. Not the thing Mrs. Faraday asked for. She glanced at the teacher who was too busy on the computer and quickly gave me the note. I read it quickly. Julia, About Britney, you said you wanted my help. What do you want me to do? And you know, Britney is really not a bad person. You don’t know her that much. What are you going to do?

I glared at her. I silently snatched her pencil and wrote down sloppily that if she didn‟t want to go against Britney then she didn‟t have to. I slapped the paper on her desk and everyone looked up, hearing the big noise. Including Mrs. Faraday. “Julia, what was that? What did you do to Miss Kylie‟s desk?” “Nothing I uh…tripped.” I hated talking to her. I hated looking at Mrs. Faraday‟s too skinny body and her too long hair always tied up in a too messy ponytail. I hated how her high-pitched voice always came towards me. Always me. “Ok…” she stared at me suspiciously. “Everyone can sit down now.” Finally I thought. I shouldered past Kylie to my own seat. She looked at me as if though I did something wrong and as if she was scared of me. I sat down and stared at her eyes that were full of horror and sorrow. Suddenly I felt bad for her for being too harsh. Was I being unfair? She could have been right. Just because I only had one talk with Britney…but that one talk was enough. She showed off her double waltz jump and I knew she would not have done that if she wasn‟t a show off. My sympathy for Kylie faded. She was the one being unfair. I pushed the thought off that I lost my best friend and finished my class work. Then the bell rang. “Ok class, you are dismissed, and remember to turn in your homework tomorrow!” We had homework? Great. I was dozing off, thinking about Kylie while Mrs. Faraday announced our homework for the night. If I asked her for it, she wouldn‟t get mad. She liked me. I walked over to her desk while everyone went out the door after packing up. “Mrs. Faraday, do you mind giving me the assignment again?” I asked. She squinted at me. “Ok…give me a pencil and paper.” I pulled out my paper and got a pencil from my table basket. I gave it to Mrs. Faraday and she jotted down what I had to do. “Next time, Julia, pay attention.” I nodded and walked out the door. Kylie and Britney were really troubling me now. “Uh, Julia! Get your stuff! Backpack! Homework assignment!” she waved my paper in the air for me to get it. “Sorry,” I mumbled. I packed up I took my homework. Ok. I wanted to get things straight here. First, Britney. Second, Mommy and Daddy not helping me. Third, and worst, my only trusting friend going over to problem number one‟s side. Was this right? Kylie and I were supposed to be best friends! I shook the thought off. At least I was home with my parents who could at least comfort me. I sighed and did my homework.

Chapter 4 “Haha, Britney, you are the funniest person I have ever met.” I heard Kylie‟s voice. “Well, I should be funnier then Julia, your other friend who horribly stinks at figure skating.” Then I heard Kylie gasp. “She‟s not horrible! She is really good! You should see her-“ “Fine. She is good. But not as good as me. I heard she‟s jealous of me. Seriously. Who would you like better, Kylie? Smart, funny and good at figure skating, or stupid, dull and bad at figure skating?” “Well, if you put it that way then…” Why wasn‟t Kylie defending me? Suddenly, my eyes flew open. Why was I always having these weird dreams? I shook my head and went downstairs to eat my breakfast. Before I opened the door knob, I heard my mom‟s voice. And the clinging sound of Britney‟s junk. I have so

lived this day before. I thought. But last time, It was actually my mom‟s jewelry. But when I opened the door knob, hoping it was just Mom, I saw the bratty face. I wanted to moan out loud. What was she doing in our house? I was angry. I stomped in the kitchen. “Oh, hi, Julia!” greeted my mom as if though she was pleased to have Britney here. “So, this is Britney. I hope you met her. She goes to your school. She‟s new and-“ “I know her, I know!” I snapped. “Oh-ok then. Well, her mother wanted her to teach you some figure skating moves! Doesn‟t that sound great? It‟s such a great way to learn some more! Especially since it‟s from a friend!” I wanted to burst out in a fit. “Yeaaah…” I replied, trying to sound real enthusiastic. “So… whose idea was this?” I asked slowly with my teeth chomped together in anger, trying to figure out whose beastly idea this was. To practice figure skating with such a horrid person. “Oh! It was Britney‟s! Smart girl, huh?” exclaimed my mom. “I know you and thought it was a great opportunity for you and me!” Britney added in. I could really tell that she was trying to annoy me. “Yeah! That sounds great!” I shouted, trying to sound happy, but my tone showed anger. It just had to be her, Miss Perfect! “Oh, by the way, Britney, you really shouldn‟t where so many necklaces and bracelets on…they could get caught on the dress sequences and rust!” Ha-ha, this was my scheme to try to get her to look bad.”Also, you should wear the dresses from the store, not those fancy dresses that you wear to parties!” this was working. She kept on her smug smile but looked kind of flushed in her eyes. I struggled to keep in a giggle. Mad eyes and happy smile does not go well together. “Either way, you‟re going to have to wear those dresses if you are to perform!” I tried not to smile and tried to look like I was helping her. But for some reason, my mom glared at me. “Julia! Britney is an experienced figure skater! If you‟re trying to make fun of her, then I suggest you do it while you make yourself look like you‟re helping her! You know it is very obvious that you are trying to tease.” She scolded. “I am not making fun of her!” I wailed convincingly. “I‟m just trying to help!” How could my face expression give so much away? I was trying to tease her and make her look bad with a straight face! But, on the dark side, I guessed I was helping her and giving suggestions. “Anyways,” Britney broke in. “My mom said tomorrow at seven would be good for me. How about you?” My mom broke her glare from me and turned to Britney with a new warm gaze. That made me mad. “That would be perfect, Britney.” What! I was supposed to meet Kylie at seven! Even though I was mad at her, she was after all better than Britney. “Mother!” I yelled. “I thought I was supposed to meet Kylie at seven!” Before my mom could answer, she opened her mouth to talk, but Britney cut in. “Oh, Kylie! She‟s coming along! Doesn‟t that sound great? I talked with her too.” How dare she cut into my time with my former best friend? Well, she was the person who ruined out friendship so I figured as much she would do something like that. I sighed. “Ok…seven it is.”

I got ready and put on my figure skating dress and my skates. I took my bag and put on my skate guards. (You know, the thing that you use to put on your ice skate blade when you walk on ground.) I waited with my mom on the front porch for Britney to come. Not long after that, I saw her big, silver, shiny Lexus car driving towards out house. As soon as they reached us, I climbed in the car to see Britney and Kylie watching a movie on the TV inside the car. Britney greeted me in the usual bratty way and Kylie glanced at me to see who I was and then turned back to the TV, ignoring me. I made Britney scoot over so I didn‟t have to sit by Kylie. I watched the movie “Happy Feet” with them until we made it to the ice skating center. The ride wasn‟t all that bad except the fact that they kept talking to each other and ignoring me like they were the only two people on Earth. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and got out of the car. They followed behind me and I walked into the mall alone with no one by my side.

Chapter 5 “No, no not like that, like this! Watch me carefully Julia!” I exhaled, frustrated. Not because I couldn‟t get the move right. I was mad because Britney corrected me on everything I did! Even when I did my best and I did it correctly! I just had to let this out. “Ok, you listen here, Britney Black!” I spat out her last name. “I am doing my best! Why do you always have to correct me on every single thing I do one at a time? It goes slower and you‟re just being a pain! And a show off! And the worst figure skating teacher ever!” I smoothed my dress and looked at her. She looked back at me with round eyes. “Julia…I‟m your teacher. You don‟t get mad at me, I get mad at you! So if you get mad, I can simply tell your mother.” She shrugged. I could just tell that she was just trying to make me mad. My face was turning into a faint red color. I tried to calm myself down. After all, she did have a point. She was my teacher. I took a deep breath. “Fine. Show me again.” I scowled. The rest of the lesson went by pretty slow, despite the fact that once in a while I actually had fun while I told her not to wear her junk on the rink. “Seriously! It could rust!” I said about ten times over the whole lesson. We walked outside together along with Kylie and waited for Britney‟s mom to come with the car. As soon as she came we climbed in and slept. It was, after all, eleven. When I woke up it was morning. I was strangely in my bed. I was in sixth grade and my mom had to carry me into my bed. I felt like a baby again. I decided to wake up even though it was only five thirty. I got my phone and saw that it was vibrating. I looked at who was calling and it said “Unknown name, unknown number.” I picked it up anyways and this is what I heard,” “Hey, do you have some extra space in your refrigerator? I need to store my bottle of ketchup in there!” then I heard a small giggle. Definitely Kylie. It was her prank call voice. I recognized it. Whenever Kylie slept over at my house, we always did prank calls and I knew her voice pretty well whenever we prank called. I shut my phone and shook my head at the call. Then my phone rang again. Again, unknown name unknown number. I opened my phone and angrily shouted,” “Kylie, that‟s a nice try! I know your voice from when we used to prank call! You think I would fall for that?” I waited for a reply. A couple of seconds later, I heard,

“Who‟s Kylie?” Definitely Britney, I thought. In her lowest voice so she would sound like a man. “My name is…”I heard some more giggling. “My name is Bob. I need room for ketchup! I told you!” I heard more giggling. “Britney, I know your voice. If you think I‟m that dumb to fall for this, then you might as well be the dumb one.” I didn‟t even wait for a reply. I closed my phone again. This time it made a really loud noise and even crushed my finger. I simply took it out, forgetting the pain. Now, I regretted closing my phone. I wanted to hear more of what they would say so that I could bust them even more. Dang it. I thought. Luckily, my phone rang again. Same people. “What?” I screamed. “Ketchup! Please!” I heard a more desperate voice from them. “No! Now stop calling me! You‟re bothering me so bad!” “Ha-ha, ok you got us.” Britney said. “Stop calling me! Don‟t talk to me!”I yelled harder. I closed my phone carefully and ran downstairs and made my breakfast. Yes! Today was the day that my dad came! I could tell him about my trouble and maybe he‟ll help me about this problem! Suddenly I heard the doorbell ring. I ran over to the front door and opened the door eagerly. But bad luck. It was a neighborhood campaign thing. “Hello! Do you happen to-“ I shut the door in their faces. I knew I was being rude, but anyways, they could be robbers! Trying to get into the house and maybe steal something. I doubted it, but the only person I wanted to see was my father. I finished my breakfast and while I was brushing my teeth, I heard the garage door open from outside. I brushed quickly and opened the door to the garage. It was my dad! “Dad!” I almost screamed until my voice popped out. I ran over to him and literally jumped on him, wrapping my arms around his nick so hard that I felt like it would leave a ten year mark. “Hey, Julie!” He hugged me back. Just as hard. “Eeek! Daddy, let go!” I told him weakly. He chuckled and put me down. “Why do you only get to come once a week?” I asked, acting really sad, but in the inside I didn‟t feel anything at all. He could have squeezed everything out! No, just kidding. “I have to work.” He replied sadly. “So much that I have to sleep in my office. I really wished I got to spend more time with you, Julie.” Now I felt sad. Not really for myself, but for him. He looked so sorrowful. Right now, he was the only one to cheer me up. “Why can‟t you stop working on Sunday? Doesn‟t everyone stop work on Sundays?” I asked hopefully. “My boss is thinking about it. But anyways, did you eat breakfast?” “Yeah, I made myself some cereal. But Daddy, I want to talk to you about something else. You know Britney? That girl I was talking about that one day? Well, Mommy makes me do ice skating lessons with her. I mean, she has to be my teacher. She knows a bit more than me.” He stared at me. “Ok, a lot more than me. How else could she be my teacher? Ok, but anyways, I had more talks with her and now I know who she really is. She‟s just like the girl I talked to when I had my first conversation with her. They‟re just the same! I don‟t want to take lessons with her every Friday! Tell Mommy to make them quit!” I complained.

He sighed. “I wish I could. But your mom has a good point! It is a great opportunity and plus, you will encounter more…weird teachers in your life. Honey, in college, the professors will criticize you, and they will be very strict on every single thing you do! You just need to get used to it starting now.” “No,” I whimpered.”Just Britney. I just don‟t want her! I can stand other teachers.” He looked at me as If I were the most stubborn person on earth. “Just think about your mom‟s point.” He said. He got up and went upstairs and went in his room to rest. I just stood there, thinking about what he said. Why won‟t he understand or ever help me? I ran up to my room and called my mom. “Yes, Julia? “ I heard her voice. “Mommy, quit my lessons with Britney. I hate her. She is the worst teacher ever! Remember that one lesson when she taught me for three hours? Well, the only thing I really learned was waltz jump. That‟s it. She is very slow, mommy. It is not a great opportunity!” I blabbed out. “Julia, dear, Britney is trying to teach you her very best. She just-“ “She is not doing her best!” I interrupted. “Please deal with her.” She murmured. “She just wants to focus on the waltz jump, Julia. She wants you to be perfect at it that‟s why. She just wants you to master that move, then move on to another.” She explained to me. I closed my phone and hung up without replying. I decided to call Kylie and apologize to her. After all, she was my only friend until I blew it when I got mad at her for liking someone who I didn‟t like. Friends do that, don‟t they? Or are we not considered friends anymore? The thought of that just made my eyes water. I used to have Kylie as my speed dial number five, but now that I took her off, I dialed her number. I waited for her to pick up. Then I heard the answering machine. I sighed and took the phone off my ear. I went on the computer to my email. She was on chat! I clicked on her name to chat with her. I typed,”Hey Kylie.” I waited for three minutes. Then, I saw the symbol, all faded out. It looked like she was off chat. She was ignoring me and not replying to anything I said! She didn‟t even know if it was an apology or not! For the next few days, I did everything I could to apologize to Kylie. But she never responded and she always ignored me. Finally, I did the last thing I could think of. It was pretty dumb, and I did it before. But I did it again anyways. I dialed her phone number. I waited for her to pick up. I waited and waited. I called again when she wouldn‟t pick up. I was about to give up, and say this was my last time trying, but finally, what seemed like a million years, I heard, “Hello?” said Kylie‟s voice, dull and as if she wasn‟t expecting an apology. “Hey Kylie, um, about that time when I got mad during class time…I‟m really sorry-“ “Just forget it.” She interrupted. “Huh? So you‟re okay? We can be friends again-“ “I said forget it.” She said again and I heard her hang up. I slowly removed my phone from my ear, closed it with my fingers and dropped it on the ground. My brain was spinning. My eyes dropped tears. And it was like me and Kylie was talking even though we weren‟t near. My brain said, please? And hers said, Forget it, we are no longer friends. Soon, my bed had a big puddle on it. And I finally gave her my last message. I’m sorry. We are no longer friends…if you really mean it.

Chapter 6 Ever since Kylie totally yelled at me, I haven‟t been in such a great mood. I didn‟t even try after that to win her back. Actually, I totally forgot her. I just thought about Britney. Not about how she totally stole Kylie away from me, but how she was annoying me so badly. Not how she stole my idea of prank calls and sleepovers with Kylie, but how she taught during my lessons and how she stared at me in school hours. How could Kylie like her? How could she have any friends at all? Now that I thought about it, Britney was actually getting really popular. Everyone looked at her and…I mean looked up to her! She was so rude! I guess I was the only one who didn‟t like her. In my world, she wasn‟t popular at all. It was Monday, and my alarm rang. My eyes were droopy, and Britney and Kylie were kind of leaving my mind. I was…forgetting them! When I thought of them, I just got easily distracted by something else, or something else entered my mind. It was so much greater! Well, after all I went to my church yesterday, and prayed a lot. Mostly about Britney and not so much about Kylie. Kylie, I could admit, totally fell out of my brain. I even forgot what we did in our sleepovers and I forgot who we prank called and what we said to them. I even told one of her secrets and broke one of her promises that we made when I slept over at her house. I couldn‟t believe I remembered that. The reason I did such a cruel thing, is because I knew she broke one of my promises and told one of my secrets to Britney. But I knew that one day, she would climb back into my mind and start bugging me again. I got dressed and my mom took me to school. I saw Kylie and Britney talking where I used to meet her every day before school. I ignored them and walked away like it didn‟t bother me. I went over to a girl named Rosie. She was friendly. Way better than Kylie at least. For now. I walked over to her and said hi. She smiled at me. “Hey, Julia!” she frowned. “Why aren‟t you hanging out with Kylie?” Of course. Everyone knows about my friendship with Kylie. Or should I say former friendship? How am I gonna explain it to every single person? I thought. “I-I just don‟t feel like talking to Britney,” I replied, trying to avoid every question about Kylie. “She‟s already really popular and I really don‟t want to interfere with her.” “Same here,” she commented. “She‟s always acting like she‟s all that. I‟m just glad she has one best friend to keep her busy!” “Who‟s her best friend?” I asked quickly. Staring at her. “Kylie! Isn‟t it obvious?” she asked. “She‟s always hanging out with her. It‟s seriously like two peas in a pod!” I smiled at her. She was really nice. I thought about her as my best friend already. “Yeah, I know. It‟s like Kylie never knew me.” At that moment I wanted to cover my mouth and take back what I said. She looked at me. “Yeah I guess,” she stared at Kylie for a moment. Then she turned her gaze on me. “Come on, let‟s go to class.” “You‟re probably right. Let‟s go.” The rest of the day went by fast because I was hanging out with Rosie. I totally ignored Kylie, happy about the fact that Britney was in another class so she didn‟t have anyone to talk to.

I was doing my homework at home when Rosie called me. “Hi Rosie!” I answered my phone. “Hi Julia!” she replied to me. “What are you doing? I asked. “Just doing homework. But I was wondering if you could come to my house and sleep over one day. We could do homework together and have fun. You know thanksgiving is coming up soon. During the break maybe…” she suggested. This reminded me of Kylie‟s first night here. But I didn‟t really want to talk about Kylie. I liked Rosie a lot more now. I guessed. I bet if I still had Kylie as a friend I would like her more. “Sure, I‟ll go ask my mom right now. Stay on the line.” I took my phone off of my ear and ran downstairs to my mom‟s bedroom where she was lying down on the bed and watching TV. She looked up where I came. “Oh, hi Julia.” I heard her typical tired voice. She had just come back from work. “Mom, I have a friend named Rosie and she wants me to sleepover on Thanksgiving break. Would that be ok? I can ask for her address and what time and you can meet her mom.” I said hopefully. “Ok, that sounds good! Just get her address right now and we‟ll plan it out.” I jumped up in excitement. “Okey dokey!”I replied. I ran back upstairs and started talking to Rosie again. “My mom said yes! She wants your address right now!” “Ok! It‟s 1203 Prestwick Ct. Granger, Indiana 46537!” I quickly wrote it down and waited for the days of Thanksgiving to come. It went by pretty fast, despite that Kylie kept blabbing with Britney. I didn‟t see why she should like her. But only the times that I saw her, I kept complaining in my mind. Whenever I saw Rosie waiting for me in her typical spot, I would catch her eyes and they would always light up. I stopped daydreaming and went back to doing my homework. I saw the same problem that Kylie asked me for help with. Why did memory always have to bring up Kylie? Everything I looked at or thought of reminded me of Kylie. She was everywhere. My curtains on my window, the ones she pretended to be a character in a movie by using them to dress up. My bed. She would always sleepover. My desk, where my phone sat. My biggest memory of doing prank calls. My air bed where we bounced on it all day long when she slept over. I quickly shook the thought off and thought of Rosie. Surely her time with me would cover up the memories of Kylie. When I finished my homework, I went to sleep. I rolled over on my side in the dark, thinking of Britney now. Why did my mind always shift over to Britney every time I slept? Maybe that‟s why I always dreamed about her. I thought of Rosie and fell asleep. Eventually it worked. Rosie was in my dream, ice skating with me in the mall‟s ice skating center. The place where I always took Kylie. But suddenly in my dream, I saw Britney and Kylie walking towards me in the ice skating center. What were they doing here? But they past me, ignoring me as if though I was invisible. Britney took my roll of helping Kylie once in a while when she fell and she carried on practicing. Next thing I knew, after what seemed like two seconds of sleep, I heard my alarm. My eyes were droopy when I opened them and I really didn‟t want to wake up. But anyways, I dragged myself out of my warm, comfortable bed and dizzily washed up and got dressed. As soon as my mom dropped me off, Rosie was

waiting where she always waited for me. I didn‟t see whether Kylie and Britney were there, because I didn‟t really care. I just happily walked over to Rosie, not wanting to look at Kylie and Britney and ruin my happiness. But the bad luck was that Kylie and Britney walked over and ruined my time with Rosie. As soon as I saw them, I turned my back on them and continued on talking to Rosie. I heard them gossiping lightly. But just loudly enough that I could hear my name in a blur of talking. Just then, I felt Britney‟s hand tap my back. I whipped around. “What?” I spat. Her eyes turned round. “I was just going to ask if you were ready for the lesson next week.” She replied calmly. I didn‟t lighten my tone. “We just had a lesson this week! Of course I‟m ready.” I said coldly. Rosie and Kylie joined the conversation. “Julia,” Kylie cut in. “What‟s wrong?” she was acting like she was my friend again. “Don‟t talk to me. I tried to say sorry, but you wouldn‟t listen! Now I‟ve got a better friend!” I yelled and took Rosie‟s shoulders and pushed her gently in front of me. Kylie‟s eyes got duller. The kind of eyes I rarely saw when we were friends. “Um, I think we should get to class.” Rosie suggested, breaking the awkward silence that included me and Britney glaring at each other. Kylie turned to look at the watch that looked exactly the same as Britney‟s. Best friend watches, I thought, Britney is totally trying to steal all my ideas. It was partly Kylie‟s fault for telling her. “Yeah, think she‟s right.” Said Kylie, looking at Rosie. “It‟s seven fifty.” We walked in the building all together. It wouldn‟t be all together if Britney didn‟t follow me and Kylie didn‟t follow Britney. It was annoying. When I could take it any longer I yelled, “Why are you following me?” Her eyes finally got mad. “I am not! I am just walking to my classroom!” she hollered back at me. Just then I realized that Mr. Green‟s room was right next to Mrs. Faraday‟s. “Oh,” I mumbled. “My bad.” I felt awkward. She nodded rudely at me with her wide turquoise eyes. Her eyebrows narrowed as she turned to Kylie. “Kylie, this is my room. See you after school.” They hugged and Britney went to Mr. Green‟s room. Kylie stared and then turned to me. “Hi Julia…” She started to say, but then I shouldered past her with Rosie and walked into Mrs. Faraday‟s class. So now I’m your backup friend when Britney isn’t around? I thought angrily in my head. She completely ignored me when she was with Britney, but when Britney was away, she acted like we were still best friends! I didn‟t notice this when we were best friends. I didn‟t realize how rude Kylie could have been. I was too concentrated on how she brightened me an how much fun we both had together. The thought made me mad. Suddenly I wanted to ignore her for the rest of my life, even if she apologized. “Ok, class, today, we will be doing a group project including two people in each group. Chose your partners silently.” She ordered. Rosie and I quickly ran to each other and I saw Kylie slowly walking to a guy named Alex because they were the only two left to choose partners. Ha, I thought. No friends. She was lost without Britney. I shook my head in amusement. I knew I was being mean to Kylie, but she should of

thought twice before choosing a bratty Britney besides her best friend who she knew all her life. “The class project will be about what your favorite sport is. You will get one person‟s sport and your partner‟s favorite sport, and combine them together and make up your own sport! You will be making a PowerPoint presentation. Split up the work evenly, get research about your favorite player of your favorite sport, and include the following things written on the white board. I will also be handing out laptops and then you may start. ” She explained. After she said everything, Rosie and I started talking. “What‟s your favorite sport?” I asked. She shrugged. “Always been a runner. Track…I guess.” “Mine is figure skating. How do you think we should combine them?” “Don‟t know…” she looked like she was in a trance, just making her thinking face the whole time. I made my face look like that too. Just to tell her I was thinking. “Oh! Got a plan!” I heard Rosie‟s voice say suddenly. She suggested that we make a slippery track and we could add more when I slept over at her house this week. Thanksgiving would be only Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and today was Monday. “Yeah,” I agreed. “We need playing time too though! Why did we plan a sleep over in the first place?” I was thinking too much of my sleepovers with Kylie where we just played and played and that was all we did. But on the bright side, my plan for the sleepover was that I and Rosie were going to prank call Britney and Kylie! I was planning to teach her a good prank call voice. Just like I taught Kylie her prank call voice. My evil thing was that I knew Kylie‟s voice when she tried to prank call me. I laughed in my head, until I heard a voice outside of my head. “Julia? Julia? Hellooo?” Earth to Julia?” Rosie was trying to get me back to the real world. “Sor-ee,” I muttered. It was finally Tuesday, the day that instead of my mom picking me up, it would be Rosie’s mom picking me up. I was sleeping over for two days! My mom was coming to meet Rosie‟s mom too though. I was bouncing up and down in my seat so much that Mrs. Faraday had to tell me to stop bouncing in my seat almost six times! But it was worth getting in trouble because at the end of the day bell, I literally jumped to my backpack, shakily, packed all my assignments, and sprinted out of the school building. No school tomorrow, sleeping over at Rosie‟s house, I was really excited today! I met Rosie outside where she always waited for me in the morning time and waited for her mom‟s gold Sienna van, she told me her mom had. We waited and waited for which seemed like ten million years and finally, we saw a big gold van in the parking. We crossed the parking lot with the crossing guard and raced to Rosie‟s car. To my surprise, the car opened automatically. “Cool! I‟ve always wanted one of those! But my daddy needs to save up some more money…” I randomly said. We climbed in the car and Rosie‟s mom was driving the car n the front seat. She was very beautiful and kind. “Hello, there! You must be Julia, the little young lady that Rosie always chatters on until late at night about.” She let out a small chuckle at the end of her sentence. I grinned, pleased to hear that Rosie talked about me. “Me too!” I replied. “I bother my mom talking about Rosie late at night!” I just wanted to make her feel

better. As soon as we got to the house, I didn‟t realize how rich a person could be. There was a big gate and Rosie‟s mom pushed a button in the car. The gate slowly opened, but it was amazing to watch it. I stared in amazement and Rosie looked at me as if I was staring at a regular house pet. “Uh, Julia? Is something wrong with our gate?” she asked, sounding concerned. I turned to look at her with effort. The big gate was something hard to take my eyes off of. “Oh, sorry, no. I‟m just so…amazed at what a big gate that…” I trailed off. Then talked again. “You never told me you were rich and lived in a…” I saw the big brick house what looked like mansion. “A mansion.” She laughed softly. “I didn‟t want to gloat. I mean I know how much you hate how Britney brags all the time about how rich she is. But since you know how rich I am now…I BET I AM WAY RICHER THAN SHE IS!” She ended. Her mom turned back from the front seat and glared at her with wide eyes. “I told you a hundred times by now, Rosie, no showing off our wealth!” she scolded. Rosie hung her head. “Sorry mother.” “Do you want a servant to punish you again?” Rosie quickly shot her head back up. She had round eyes that looked just like a baby‟s. “No!” she cried. He mom smiled and gave her a look that said „that‟s what I thought.‟ “Kay, let‟s go in.” As we entered the big, beautiful house, I gasped. “I‟ve never seen anything so pretty. To tell you the truth, I have never ever even been in a mansion!” then I looked at Rosie and her mom. They had sadness in their eyes. “Oh, did I…offend you or something“I started to say but then Rosie interrupted me. “Oh, no, you did nothing wrong. It‟s just that…” she trailed off and looked at her mother as if asking for permission to tell me something. “As long as she promises never to tell anyone.” Her mom replied. She nodded and she lead me up to her room. We went up an elevator, which I found weird because it was a house! Where people lived! But anyways I went with it and walked into her room. It was about the size of the school cafeteria! Well, maybe I was exaggerating. It was very big though. I opened my eyes as wide as I could; forgetting that she even had a big secret to tell me. “Okay, Julia? This is a really sad story that I never ever told anyone. So you are practically the first one to know. Consider that special.” I wanted to smile, but she looked so serious. So I kept a straight face, trying to look bad for her. “Long ago, my dad died. Want to know how? A tornado swept through our peaceful cottage that we used to live in. of course, the cottage was made so we had tornado shelter. There was a basement. We all went down, all but my father who was at work. They so should have canceled his work but he had a horrible boss and was planning to quit after he had found a new job.” She continued on with miserable looking eyes. “It was his birthday in a month and we had everything prepared for him. It was the worst time. The tornado was so close to our house that we could see it, sort of far away, but it was definitely inside my town. After a couple of months, we knew he wasn‟t coming back so we moved where we could live in a better house. Even though we still missed our cottage. We finally moved in with my

cousin and aunt, and they lived in an even smaller cottage. My mom even had to get a job at the nearby airport where she would only get minimum pay of what my dad got when he was alive. They all worked and some richer people donated some money to us. But still, we didn‟t have enough money to support us.” I listened hard, now I realized how bad she felt. “Wait, but how are you guys so rich?” I asked. “That‟s what I was about to tell you. Suddenly, a whole family donated all of their money to us, and soon they died of starvation. They died right before we were going to give the money back. Right after that, another tornado came. My favorite aunt died. My cousin was sent to the hospital because the tornado damaged her face. Then she never came back either. Then, with the money from my aunt, my cousin, he was old enough to work by the way, and the donations, plus my mom‟s brief working, we finally had enough money to purchase a house that would support us. But ever since then, we felt so guilty. We used the people who died for our own wealth. They died, and we bought a better house…but we could of gave the money back and we both could have lived. So we are guilty and we lost three of our most special family members.” She sniffed and tears started dropping from her moist eyes. I felt sorry for her and was desperate for something to say. “Err, well, at least you have a good life, and go to a great school with great people!” I was sure this was going to make her feel more guilty but I just wanted to end this. She looked up at me. “Yeah, you‟re probably right. Ok, let‟s talk about the project.” She offered, changing the subject. We talked and talked and wrote on our presentation board and finally worked on our PowerPoint. Right at the moment that we finished, my stomach started yelling of hunger. I clutched my stomach in my hands, trying to hide it from Rosie since I knew it was rude to ask for food in someone‟s house. I heard her laugh. “Yeah, I‟m hungry too. Let‟s go downstairs to find something to eat.” We stumbled down the steps and Rosie opened the pantry. Then out of nowhere, a pretty woman came from a door in the kitchen. “Miss Rosie, may I help you find something to eat?” she politely asked with a lot of manners. Rosie looked respectfully back. “No, its fine, I just want to ask you one favor though. Please make something for my friend, Julia to eat.” She replied. I stared at the two talking. Was she a servant? Why was Rosie so polite to her? Why was the servant so…fell fed and in such good shape? Rosie, have seeing my face expression, grinned in amusement and explained to me. “My servant, her name is Ellie. You can just sit back. She‟ll be making…what do you want?” “Uh, what do you have to make?” I asked back. “Well, if you‟ll just say anything, it will most likely be up in a few short minutes…it always happens to me.” “I bet you don‟t have what I have in mind.” I replied. “Oh yeah? Try me.” I thought of the most complicated think I could think of and finally I said, “I bet you don‟t have pineapple, hot sauced pizza!” I finally said smiling. “Ellie! Pineapple hot sauced pizza, please!” she shouted. My eyes turned wide. “No way.” I said shortly. She grinned from ear to ear and suddenly the door opened, and there stood

Ellie, holding a plate of perfectly sliced piece of pizza with pineapple and what looked like hot sauce. “What! No way! That was only like, what? Two minutes?” I yelled in amazement. “Well, actually we baked that same pizza this morning, so it was an easier one to get. Right, Ellie? Kay, now you can rest.” Said Rosie. Wow, no wonder Ellie looked so happy and healthy. This family gives them good rest! I smiled at their generosity. Way better than Kylie. If Kylie had a servant, she would say,” Do this! Do that! Oh, no, this is not what I wanted! This! Now!” I smiled at their differences. For once, I was happy to think of Kylie in a bad way. Of course I felt guilty, but on the bright side, I was just like Rosie, to have something to be guilty for. I could easily accept my new life being best friends with Rosie rather than Kylie. Goodbye, Kylie. Were my last thoughts until I started to play with my new best friend forever?

Chapter 7 So far, we were having so much more fun than my sleepovers with Kylie. We played Candy-land, we went on the computer, we played dress-up and finally, I taught her how to do good prank calls. She seemed to have enjoyed that the most. We took up about half the time doing the prank calls. I was dialing a number with of course; star sixty seven to hide ourselves. The phone picked up. “Hello?” I heard a man‟s voice. “Hey you!” I yelled in my darkest voice. “It‟s hot in the vent! Your heater is on so get me out of the vent!” I took my ear of the phone and saw Rosie dying of laughter. “Uh, who is this? Who are you? Are you really in my vent?” he asked, sounding annoyed and horrified at the same time. “Yes! And get me out! I‟m sweating like crazy right now! Just get me out of this horrible place!” then he hung up. I pushed the “end” button on the telephone and we started to laugh. “Ok, ok! My turn now!” Rosie said, looking excited. “I want to call Britney!” I had totally forgotten about prank calling Britney. And now that it was Rosie‟s voice, she would never guess. Britney had always known Rosie, but I had taught her a new prank call voice that sounded like a nerd‟s voice. I had to admit, I was real good at teaching this. “Hello?” there was a little girl‟s voice. So squeaky, it sounded like a little toddler. “Hello? Hello?” said Rosie in her new voice. “I need to borrow a dress for prom! I just thought that you would be the right person to call! You have such beautiful dresses! Now lend me one!” Yelled Rosie in her new nerd voice. “Uh, ok then. Where are you?” she asked. Wow. What a dumb girl. “Right by your door, open up, so I can kill you.” Rosie said in a scarier voice to frighten the little girl. Now I had never heard of a prank call so mean. But it was funny and I was giggling. “N-no! I don‟t want to die!” moaned the squeaky voice. “Mommy! Mommy! Get in here! I don‟t want to die! Mom-“and then Rosie hung up. We both burst into laughter. She had done the meanest prank call in the history of prank calls. We laughed to the point where we were on the ground. For some reason. Then suddenly, Rosie‟s mom came in. “What is going on?” she asked cheerfully with amusement gleaming in her shining blue eyes. “Oh! We just called some people and they made us laugh.” Rosie replied, not wanting her mother to

know what a cruel thing she had done to the little baby girl. Why would a little girl answer the phone though? “Yeah, it was fun. Don‟t worry; we have everything under control, Mrs.…..uh...” I didn‟t even know my best friends last name? “Ha-ha, don‟t worry about it. Now you guys should go to bed. You guys have been having so much fun that you haven‟t been keeping track what time it was! You guys should sleep soon.” She said. “Ok, Mommy we will sleep soon.” Replied Rosie politely. “I even set out alarm even if it is thanksgiving!” she added proudly. Her mom smiled. “Ok dear. Now go to bed. I‟m going to sleep too so I‟m not going to check on you but in the morning I will know who slept and who didn‟t.” We slept so we wouldn‟t get in trouble and we talked though. We talked and talked until we got really tired and we both fell asleep. I had to admit that this was the best sleepover I have ever had. Even without Kylie. Why did I always think of her every time I thought of sleepovers? Maybe because we had so many together. Oh well, that time is over and now was my new fun, better life with Rosie, my new best friend. Way better than Kylie. Ring! Ring! I heard Rosie‟s alarm clock ring. I sat up on my mattress. I had slept comfortably. I guess it was because she was so rich; I couldn‟t possibly sleep uncomfortably in a house like this with so many good beds. Anyways, I woke up Rosie and I guessed she hadn‟t heard the alarm ring. She woke up and we made our own breakfast. I just took some toast and she had the last slice of pizza. Then we woke up her mom and we went outside to play. We went on the trampoline. I haven‟t been on one for a long time. The last time was on Kylie‟s. Everything I think of when I‟m playing with Rosie! I was getting angrier. Why did she have to appear in everything I thought of? Maybe because I really did like her still in the inside? No that wasn‟t it. Anyways, I had fun with Rosie, and we had one more day ahead of us to play and have fun together. I hoped the Kylie thing would finally go away by the end of the day, but it surprisingly didn‟t. Why did I have so much trouble involving her? “Uh, Rosie? I have something to say.” She looked at me curiously while we lay down trying to make out shapes with the clouds. “What‟s up Julia?” she replied. “It‟s Kylie! Every time I‟m with you just having fun, she always gets in my head and always ruins my fun. It‟s like I‟m worried about her, but I‟m really not! I‟m really not worried! I don‟t even like her anymore!” “Julia, at times like those, you should just ignore it. Don‟t let it bug you.” She suggested. She was such a great friend. I nodded at her. If I had been explaining this to Kylie, she would never have given me any advice at all. Again! There I was just blabbing about how bad Kylie was again. I just pushed her out of my mind, praying that she would never be able to somehow climb back in again. So I did ignore all the times that Kylie tried to get back in my mind. The bad thing was that the rest of the sleepover went by really quickly so I had to go home in what seemed like three minutes of my sleepover time with Rosie. I still felt bad for her incident with the tornado sweeping out three of her best family members and her guilt that she could have saved a family‟s life if they had not kept the money for so long. I decided not to tell my mother because of how warm hearted my

mother was, she would probably just have ended up giving some more money to them to make them feel better. I didn‟t think that was the case. And if I told my dad, he would have just told them that I told him. I felt trapped. I had one best friend, and parents who I couldn‟t depend on, and not to mention a horrible teacher who I couldn‟t depend on either. At least Rosie made me feel like I had ten best friends. That is how special she is to me. If Britney took her away just as she had done with Kylie, it would have hurt more. My mother was taking me to the ice skating rink so I could finally practice in peace. Recently, I was never able to practice because of Britney‟s lessons and because of my play dates with Rosie. But like it even mattered, my play dates with Rosie. The only thing that mattered here was Britney. Kylie was pushed out of my brain once and for all, and she didn‟t matter to me anymore. The one that mattered was Britney. She had been on my case since my first conversation with her! I still couldn‟t believe how nice Rosie was to me, compared to how nice Kylie was. I still didn‟t bother me, but it pleased me to think of Rosie now. She was like the healer of my mind. Britney was like my only problem. If only she hadn‟t come! I could still have Kylie, I could have Rosie, we could all be friends, and we could have sleepovers, all three of us! Britney just ruined everything and Kylie just didn‟t notice. “Jewel? Honey? We are there! Honey, it is time for you to practice.” My mom‟s voice cut into my thoughts. I looked up to look at her. “Oh! Sorry I didn‟t realize! I was…daydreaming.” I didn‟t want my mom to figure out what was troubling me. I climbed out of the back seat and pushed the door open. I jumped out with my skating bag and shut the door closed again. She went to the mall garage to go park the car. I ran inside the mall and down the escalator to the ice skating rink. I saw one of my ice skating friends who were employees. Her name was Lindsey. I raced towards her and when she saw me, her eyes lit up. “Oh, hey Julia!” she huffed as I squeezed her tightly. “Why haven‟t you come in a long time? Where‟d you go? And whatever you say, do not say home.” She said. “Lie to me if you were.” “Well of course I was home! Where else? And I do take lessons here from my, uh, friend.” Wow. I had just called Britney a friend. The thought made me want to gag. Even thought it wasn‟t even disgusting. “So, I have not been doing nothing. Plus, I made a new great, great friend! Her name is Rosie. Her full name is Rosalina.” Then I noticed I was being random. I shrugged. “And before you ask, I don‟t know what made me say that. I know I‟m being super duper random right now, so I am just going to tie my skates and go skating!” before she could say anything and before I could embarrass myself, I dashed over to the seats where I could tie my skates. I tied them as tight as I could and soon, my fingers ached like crazy. I wiggled my hands and went into the ice rink. I was just doing a trick, when I caught a glimpse of pink. And jewelry. I was practically moaning. Everywhere I went, there was Britney. Why did she only come when I was here? This was supposed to be my own, personal, peaceful, Britney-free practice time! I was whining and just standing there on the ice, when I just noticed it was just Lindsey. She was wearing a pink sparkly heart necklace, just like Britney would do. Totally Britney style, huh? I thought. Eh, it was fine. As long as it wasn‟t Britney herself. i carried on practicing and occasionally I caught some more pink and jewelry in the corner of my eyes, but luckily none of them were Britney. I skated happily. Happy to be away from her. After my mom walked in from parking the car in the garage, I skated over to her. I talked to her and said, “When does it close today?”

“Today at ten.” She replied, glancing at the skating schedule. “Oh…” I moaned. I wanted to skated more. I was practicing my favorite thing called the Chinese spiral. “Oh well.” “We will come tomorrow, don‟t worry Julia.” She soothed. She looked pleased to see me wanting to practice more. “But…but what if B-brit” I took a deep breath. “What if Britney and Kylie come?” Just then, I wanted to cover my mouth. I just remembered that she still thought that me and Kylie were friends. “Rylie-I mean Kylie? I thought you liked her! Britney I can understand, but Kylie? You don‟t like her anymore?” I stared at her with round eyes, wanting to take back what I said. “Um…no. I do like her,” I was desperate for something to say. “It…is just that…I…uh…don‟t like that she‟s friends with Britney. They always come together. Britney always hogs her to herself.” I heard my mom sigh. “Julia, I… I would love for you and Britney to know that Kylie is not the last slice of pie. You guys just have to be nice to each other and all be friends. I don‟t want any drama with you guys.” She took a breath and said,” I know that you don‟t like Britney and I understand that because she is a little bit of a brat, but you are not a brat. You want to hear my saying? It is that it is better to have one good person in a bratty group than to have the good person back away in the big bratty group.” I gave her a suspicious look and pressed my lips together. “I bet you just made that up just now.” I pressed. She exhaled sharply as if she was frustrated. “Ok, ok, sorry mommy. I will be good to Britney…even though she is never ever, ever good to me.” I gave in. I saw her relieved, happy look on her face and just realized that she just wanted to make me a better person, even if it took me being bad to her. I leaned over and hugged her. “Yes, that‟s the Julia that I remember.” She murmured, proud of me. She curled her arms around my waist in return of my hug. I got out of the rink and got ready to go home. I smiled in the car ride home. My mom‟s hug had really brightened me. Since then, I always hugged her when I got home. It gave me a confidence boost on my studying and my ice skating practice. She was great. She even drove me to school even though it was the perfect weather to ride my bike and as soon as I got out of the car, I saw the worst thing I could ever see. Rosie was talking to Kylie and Britney. I had to cover my mouth with my hands and muffled my shriek of anger. No one really heard it. Not even me. It was in my head, but I still felt it. I pelted over to them and took Rosie‟s shoulders and pulled her away from them. I could feel my eyes narrowing in anger. “What do you think you are doing?” I yelled at her. I saw her eyes start to have a look of horror. “I-I-I was just t-t-talking to them about how-“ “Why were you talking to them at all?” I shouted at her in more rage, not even letting her finish. First Kylie, now Rosie? How many more friends would Britney take over just to make my life miserable? I knew that on my first conversation I should never had listened to what she had to say. I knew I should never even have had a single conversation with her. I knew that she would just keep on taking my friends until she would make my life completely miserable. “No, Julia! You don‟t understand! If you will just let me explain-“ “Explain what?” I screamed.

“About what I was talking about! I really wasn‟t talking about anything that would offend you, I promise! I promise to you that I was just talking about things that you would! In fact, you could even say I was in a little argument! Trust me, Julia! Go ask them if you don‟t trust me. Or just look in my eyes. I‟m your best friend, aren‟t I? Shouldn‟t you know me too well to even think about lying to you?” Now was the part where I started to believe her. She had such a sincere face that I couldn‟t stand it. I had to hug her in apology. “Sorry,” I murmured. “I guess I was just too paranoid because you are my best friend and Kylie fell for Britney, so… really, I am sorry.” I made my eyes full of affection. She snorted. “Wow, you scared me right there, Julia. I never knew you could be so aggressive.” “I guess I was just scared that you might be like Kylie.” Her eyes got full of horror. “Oh, no! Never! I would never want to be like them! Even if they were the last two girls on Earth!” she growled. I let out a sigh of relief that she did not really like them “I should hope so.” I mumbled. We both walked to class and drowsily listened to Mrs. Faraday‟s boring lecture. We were in the fourth grade for crying out loud! Why did she always have to give such long lectures for such small kids like us fourth graders? I guessed you could say that I was daydreaming. “Now, can anyone tell me what a number without any factors would be called?”I unconsciously raised my hand. “Yes, Julia?” I snapped my head up. I had forgotten what she had asked. Plus, I didn‟t really know what she was trying to tell us. “Uh, I forgot.” I muttered, embarrassed. “Ok, then Kylie? Can you tell me what it is called?” “Oh! Yes, ma‟am. It is called a prime number!” she yelled, just like I remembered. I smiled, but then stopped myself. I am not friends with Kylie…I am not friends with Kylie. I kept repeating it in my mind. I glanced over at Rosie, hoping that she did not see me smile at Kylie. Fortunately, she was writing down the homework assignment from the white board to her agenda. Mrs. Faraday continued talking about prime and composite numbers. Finally, she was concluding. “Alright, ladies and gentlemen, please copy down the homework assignment from the white board! I will be handing out the worksheets for prime and composite numbers page number four, section one! Remember, this is homework not class work. I always see many of you guys working on our homework during class!” I exhaled. Why did she even care? We were doing the work either ways! But anyways, I copied down the assignment and as soon as the bell rang, Mrs. Faraday dismissed us and we packed up and went home. On the bright side, it was almost Christmas break. Another break! I thought, satisfied. We just had a Thanksgiving break, and shortly after, a Christmas Break! I was smiling. I walked over to Rosie where she was waiting for me. She smiled when she saw me. “So, what did you get on the quiz?” she asked. “Oh yeah! She handed them out today! I got a ninety eight. How about you?” “A one hundred! Yippee! My mom will be so proud!” Why did she always have to get a better grade than me even if it was by a couple of points. So she was rich, and she got better grades than me. What a great life! But, then of course, there was the time when she unintentionally killed a family with wealth and three of her best family members were killed. I once again felt bad for her. I tried to make her feel better, even though she was happy about her grade.

“Good job! You‟re so smart…I wish I were like you. You always have a better grade than me.” She looked sorry for me. “Sorry about that. I‟m just doing my best.” She was always so apologetic. She didn‟t have to be, but she was. I was the one who should have been the apologetic for her. As soon as I saw my mom‟s car, I rushed over there. I wanted to go home. I kept telling her to step on it. Then when she was parking in the garage, I opened the car door even if she was not fully parked yet. “Julia!” she yelled, but I went inside without closing the door behind me. I wasn‟t grouchy, no, I was more like…impatient right now. Well, not really impatient. I couldn‟t tell what I was feeling right now. All I know is that it wasn‟t good. I never thought I would say this, but Rosie was adding more sorrow into my life. Ever since she had told me her sad story that she had never told anyone in their life besides me, I just felt sorry for her. That was all I felt now the days. I never had fun anymore. There was only fun in the ice rink, where half of the time there was the biggest problem in my life, Britney. I didn‟t even want to hear her name anymore. I roughly unzipped my school backpack and grabbed my homework papers in there. They were all crumpled up and folded. I didn‟t really care. I skimmed through all the questions and sloppily wrote down my answers that I didn‟t even know were right. I didn‟t stop to make sure they were all correct and I stuffed it all back in my pack. I stomped up the steps to the kitchen and made myself a messy bowl of cereal. I spilled a little puddle of milk on the floor with two pieces of frosted flakes on it but I didn‟t care to clean it up. I didn‟t know what made me so grumpy today. I chomped at my cereal and read my favorite Yuna Kim book I felt like I wanted to rip the book in half since I never could practice without seeing Miss Perfect. I felt like for once, I hated figure skating. For some strange reason. I have always loved figure skating more than anything! Until the day when I met Britney Black. She had kept ruining my days after that. She had even taken my best friend. Which I didn‟t even care that much for anyways, because I had a new better friend who added some more bad stuff into my life by telling me that horrifying story. “Julia!” I heard an angry voice suddenly. I saw my mom stomping up the stairs. “What has gotten into you? You didn‟t close the door, you opened the door while I was still driving, and you slammed the door on your room! I checked your homework and it is not what I expect from you, Julia Rachel Tyler!” Wow. It was rare that she said my full name. She had not yelled at me in a while. I just remembered that the last time was when Britney started the figure skating lessons. That time she glared at me in a way that made me feel guilty. She knew I was trying to make Britney feel bad. “What, Mom? I am trying to do my best, ok? What more do you expect from me?” I screamed with as much sound that my body could let out. She blinked and opened her eyes wide. Close to a glare, but not quite. “Julia Tyler! Do not speak to me like that! Because of your behavior, I am going to have to double you lessons with Britney!” Now that part calmed me down. “No! Anything but that!” I yelled desperately. She shook her head. I guessed I was stuck with Miss Perfect. Why did I have to be so harsh on my mother? I knew she was trying her best to be my mom and I was trying my best to be her daughter, but it wasn‟t working out right ever since I hugged her at the ice rink. After the hug, she became more stern the very next day, and ever since then. I rubbed my eyes and decided to take a nap. I shut the door quietly and my mom must have heard because I heard her sigh upstairs. I heard her close the door in her room kind of loudly. Maybe I was too much for her. Did she even love me anymore? Yeah,

I‟m sure she did. Otherwise she wouldn‟t be dealing with me right now. She would be not caring for me and ignoring me if she didn‟t care. I bet she was far from that. I was proud to have a mom. Until what happened to me on the very next day.

Chapter 8 My mom dropped me off to school and I saw Britney come out of her car at the very same time. I ignored her, but heard the clacking of her shoes coming straight toward me where I was going. Then I spun around. “Why are you following me?” I asked her, trying to stay calm incase my mom was looking from the window of something. “Oh, was I bothering you? Sorry about that, I was just going over to where I always wait for Kylie.” She replied politely for once. I became a little angry then. She had taken my idea when I and Kylie were best friends. I answered back with my teeth clamed together. I tried not to show her that I was angry, but I guessed it came out anyways. “Y-you stole my idea!” I said, kind of loudly, but enough to hear from here to the other side of the sidewalk which was a little far away. Everyone turned to look at me. “Hey! Don‟t stare at me, there‟s nothing to see here!” I yelled to everyone else, and they turned back to what they were doing. “Um, I didn‟t…steal anything. It‟s just a little thing Kylie gave me so we can meet each other every day! Smart, huh?” “I gave her that idea, and she takes proof for it?” I shouted, really angry now. “You just practically took her away from me, didn‟t you?” I said coldly in her face. “What? No! I didn‟t mean to steal her, even if you think and have all the proof! I really didn‟t steal her-“ “Hey guys, what‟s going on?” I heard Kylie‟s voice. Even though she said hey “guys” I bet she only meant Britney. I didn‟t give Britney a chance to reply, but instead, I said this. “You just stole my ideas, didn‟t you Kylie? You think you can take credit for everything I made up when we were still friends? You…you brat!” I yelled. “W-what? I am not a brat! No wonder you didn‟t want to be friends anymore! You thought I was a brat? And what do you mean by we were still friends. Aren‟t we still?” she asked me surprised. “What? You think we are still friends? After all, you did go after her side and you didn‟t take my apology after I tried to apologize. We cannot be friends anymore. Did you really think I wanted to anyways?” I saw her hurt eyes. Then added,” You just use me for a backup friend. Britney goes into Mr. Green‟s class, you start getting all over me! And when Britney is around, you act like I‟m not even here!” I yelled as if I were accusing her. “Y-you mean you don‟t want to be friends anymore and-“ I stomped away to where I would wait for Rosie. Surprisingly she wasn‟t there. She usually came here before I even woke up. No, I was exaggerating. But it was strange that she wasn‟t here. Anyways, I waited in the place by the bench outside the school building as if I were a normal person, just standing there. I didn‟t want anyone to know that I only had one friend and if they were absent, I would be lost. I just waited and waited until the bell rang to go to class. I guessed it was a school day without Rosie. Now I knew how Kylie felt. To have absolutely no friends in Mrs. Faraday‟s horrible class. “Julia?” I heard Mrs. Faraday‟s annoying voice. I put my head up.

“What?” I replied to her rudely. She stepped away and looked at me with round eyes. “Why are you so grumpy? You are really quiet today.” “Well, maybe you should leave me alone. You never want any grumpy students in your class now, do you Mrs. Faraday?” I asked her sarcastically and put my head down again. “Julia Tyler! What has gotten into you today?” it seemed like Mrs. Faraday was mad at Julia for the first time. “I‟m just not in the mood!” I carelessly muttered and put my head up and started listening, not even caring if I got in trouble. Mrs. Faraday just stood at my desk and stared at me, angry. “Julia Tyler! I have always thought of you as a good student, one of my best! But it seems I will have to send you to the office for your bad behavior!” she said, as if she really didn‟t want to say it. I shrugged and got up. I walked out the door and went in the office. I saw the principal on her his computer. His name was Mr. Haun. I saw him look up as I came in through the front office door. “Oh, hello Julia.” He started, looking friendlier than usual. Good. He won’t yell at me. I thought. “Now, what brings you here to my office?” he asked me, curiously. “Oh, Mrs. Faraday said I had bad behavior, or something. I‟m just not in the greatest mood. Why cant she just understand that?” I mumbled. “Hmm… Julia, bad behavior? You have always been the most cheerful little student, why don‟t you sit down and tell me what‟s the matter?” Why was he being so nice? Bad behavior was what he hated the most! “I just felt grumpy. Starting from the day before school started again from thanksgiving break. My mom has been yelling at me and she is not the yelling type. I guess I‟m just kind of down. And please don‟t tell this to Mrs. Faraday, but I really don‟t like her as a teacher. She just…she is just hard to deal with and shows favoritism to me and my mom told my favoritism is really bad for teachers. So, it was really hard for me to control my behavior today, Mr. Haun. Sorry.” I explained. I saw him nodding everytime I said something. “I totally understand. I always though I should have never hired her as a teacher, I will talk with her, Julia.” I started to panic. “No! I don‟t want her to know that I told you!” I yelled. “Oh, don‟t worry about that part, Julia. I wont involve you in this.” He said. He smiled when my shoulders went down, relaxing. He sent me out of the office with a note that told Mrs. Faraday that I had permission to leave. When I approached Mrs. Faraday‟s room, I really didn‟t want to go in. I slumped in the door and handed her the note. She stared at it in surprise and pulled memo out. “What exactly did he do to you that took so short?”She asked in surprised. I answered angrily. “Why should you want to know?” I spat. She stepped back. I intimidated her. Me? And a teacher? No way! “It‟s not like you‟re principal or anything.” I snorted. Then she got mad. “I really don‟t know who you are anymore! Julia, do you want me to call your parents?” this was fun. I wanted to annoy her. “Well, technically, you can‟t call my parents. They are two separated people, and if you wanted to call just one of my parent, that would be fine, but not my daddy. Know why? Because he is at work at the office and my mommy-“

“Julia!” she interrupted. I stared up at her, trying to look startled. “I- you-ugh!” she shook her head and took out her phone from her pocket. “Whoa…since when does a teacher influence a student to bring a cell phone?” I murmured, jokingly. She exhaled impatiently and called my mom. “Hello? Is this Mrs. Tyler?...Oh, yes, hello. I believe your Julia has been acting up in class lately.” She paused for a moment, trying to hear what my mom was saying. “Oh, yes! I even sent her to the office, and apparently, the principal, Mr. Haun, thought it was fine and let her leave the office. I don‟t! Mrs. Tyler, please teach your child well!” she paused again. Then she sighed. “Yes, I suppose she will have to if she doesn‟t listen to things the first time.” Now was the time I got startled. Start what? Was my mom really mad now? Or was I giving her too much stress? “Thank you, goodbye.” She hung up and glared at me, then pulled me back in the room. Everyone was staring. The whole class started talking. I heard a bunch of,” Ooh, what happened?” and “did you call her mom?” or “How are you punishing her?” all at the same time. I glared at the laughing class and saw Kylie and Rosie staying silent. “Silence, class, silence!” Mrs. Faraday yelled for the whole class to hear what she had to say. She took a deep breath and turned calmly towards me. “Julia, you may sit down and the rest of the class, please do mind your own business! Julia will take care of what she needs to take care of. Please finish your work.” Then she took another deep breath and started grading work that we turned in earlier before I got in trouble. I just sat there, not knowing what to do, since she didn‟t give me an assignment. I just pretended to read my book. I felt Mrs. Faraday‟s gaze on me for a long time until she finally spoke in a soft whisper. “Julia! Do your work!” she said. “I have no work to do! You didn‟t give me a paper, oh smart one!” I whispered back. She glared at me and took a paper from a stack on her desk and shoved it at me. My mom would kill me if I talked to her like this. But my mother wasn‟t here right now, and it was now my time to annoy my teacher. I got up in my seat and took the paper and then asked if I could go to the bathroom. “No!” she snapped. “Sit down, or I will…ugh! I don‟t even know what to do to make you calm down, Julia Tyler!” she wrote down a grade on a student‟s paper that said a sixty. “Oh, look what you did, Julia! You make me so frustrated that I wrote a sixty instead of a ninety!” she quickly and angrily scribbled it out and wrote down ninety. I just stood over her and watched her write down the grades. I leaned over to give her a shadow so she couldn‟t see what she was grading. “GET IN YOUR SEAT, JULIA! LET ME GRADE THIS! OR I AM GIVING YOUR GRADE A ZERO! YEAH, THAT‟S RIGHT, A ZERO!” She screamed loudly. The whole class started staring at me. “Oh, hiya!” I said to the whole class as if nothing were wrong and went down to my seat normally as if I were not being watched. Everyone continued to stare at me like I was the weirdest person on earth. I did my work, happy that I was finally annoying my teacher. The teacher that used to love me so much and the one that hated me now. I laughed and then Mrs. Faraday sat up from her desk and walked angrily over to me. “I really don‟t know what to do with you, Julia. I called your mom, yelled the heck out of myself until my lungs hurt like crazy, then I mess up because I‟m trying to think of a way to calm you down, I send you to the principal‟s office and he agrees with you, a student, not me, the teacher! What do you want from me? Just tell me if that‟s the only way to get you back on your best behavior like before when you were good.

Now I don‟t even know who you are!” she hissed through her teeth. I just looked up at her and smiled innocently. “Oh, I really don‟t want to bother you. Go back down to your seat and work on your grades! I really don‟t want to be a bother by asking you for something, Mrs. Faraday.” I knew she would yell at me again but I really kind of wanted her to. I didn‟t really care if the whole class would think I was a weird person trying to make Mrs. Faraday mad. Then her face got red. Then she took a deep breath to calm herself from yelling. “Ok, but just be good until I grade these papers, ok?” she said gently and walked back to her desk. I thought of what she said about sitting still until she finished grading. When she finished grading the work, I would start being annoying again. I smiled to myself, ignoring the fact that everyone was watching me. In what seemed like forever, Mrs. Faraday stood up and said,” Ok, let‟s begin the new lesson.” That was the time when she was done grading. I jumped out of my chair and sat on my desk and threw my hands and papers in the air. “She‟s done grading!” I screamed. Mrs. Faraday ignored me and just put my papers on her desk and wrote down a zero on each of them. Then she glared at me and slammed them all down on my desk. That got me kind of worried. I even saw a little tear on her cheek. As if it were going to stay there until I changed my behavior. After I was that hyper, I really did not want to apologize. I would just say sorry tomorrow, and maybe she could changed my grade if I actually worked on the papers. But for now, I just stood silently and sat back down in my chair. It looked like the fun was over, and now I was in trouble.

Chapter 9 My face was red when I saw my mom in her car picking me up. Everyone in my class was still staring at me. We were outside waiting for our parents to come. I was still surprised that Mrs. Faraday didn‟t want me to see her after class. I guessed that she was too mad to even talk to me. That would be why she didn‟t say anything when she gave me a zero. I just walked to my mom‟s car and climbed in. she would not talk to me either. “Mom? Are you ok?” I asked, like I didn‟t know anything that was going on in my class. “You know what is bothering me.” She replied dully. “What?” I asked. She stopped driving and parked in a nearby shop to talk to me. “I got a call from your teacher. She told me you were acting up. You never act up to me. And your teachers have never called me for that reason. I am very disappointed.” She said. I felt really guilty for making her sad. “I want an explanation. The truth or I am going to stay here and not go home until you tell me the whole story. I raised you to be a good girl, not a student that acts up.” I decided to give in and tell her the whole thing. “Ok. Here is the whole thing.” I started. “I don‟t like my teacher. From the start I have never liked her! She bothered me all the time and she kept butting into my figure skating business. Then I was planning to make her mad and to not like me and today I started annoying her until she sent me to Mr. Haun‟s office. He agreed with me that she was a bad teacher and he didn‟t get me in trouble and sent me back to the class which made Mrs. Faraday so mad that she called you.” I didn‟t want to tell her about the zero. I knew that would ruin her feelings more. She looked at me with sadness in her eyes. She didn‟t reply but she just slid her keys in the slot and drove off home. She didn‟t talk the whole way, just cried and cried until there was a

small wet spot on her leg. I never felt so bad in my life. “Sorry,” I murmured quietly before I got out of the car. I didn‟t wait for her sad reply and shut the door in my room behind me. I stood there for a second, thinking. If I made friends with Britney, she would be happy. If I changed my behavior in class she would be happy. If I just tried to cheer her up, she would pretend to be happy. But the thing was why she was so sad for me? I was her daughter, but to cry all the way from school to home, she must love me a lot. My phone ringing interrupted my thoughts. I looked at who it was, and I saw Rosie‟s name. I picked it up. “Yeah?” I answered. “Oh, Julia? Um, I hate to ask, but what was…up with you? You know, in class?” “Ok, you know what? I know everyone is going to ask me that tomorrow, so if I tell you now, you better not tell anyone.” “Oh, that would be fine.” She replied. I heard a mixture of confusion and eagerness in her voice. I really didn‟t want to tell her, but she was my best friend and I wanted to in a way. “Um, K, well, I, well, as you know, hate Mrs. Faraday. So I just wanted to annoy her…just for the fun of it.” I wasn‟t telling the entire truth. It didn‟t make me feel guilty, so I just went with it. “Oh, if that‟s it, I was just wondering if I could come over to your house, like, I don‟t know, maybe this weekend?” she asked. “You know, that would be great. I mean if I didn‟t have a figure skating lesson with Britney.” I replied to her sadly. “Oh, well maybe I could come with you. I mean I always hear from you that Kylie always comes with her. Maybe you would want a friend because I always imagine you being left out on those days.” “Gee, thanks.” I said ungratefully. “But that would be great. K, just let me ask my mom…and not to mention Britney‟s mom because she is the one who drives us there in her little Lexus SUV car.” “Um, ok?” she sounded like she thought I was being weird for a second, then I ran up the stairs to ask my mom. Then I forgot. She was upset. I stopped by her door. Then I ran back downstairs and put the phone back on my ear. “Wait one minute, can you stay on the line? I have to uh, ask her because she is…uh, at work.” I couldn‟t let Rosie know that I disappointed my mom. I quickly dialed my dad’s number and asked him. He didn‟t know about the incident in class. “Hey daddy!” I shouted happily. “Hey Julie!” he replied back. “Look, I‟m in the middle of work, so make this fast ok?” “Can Rosie come over to our house and then come to the skating lesson with Britney and me?” I asked fast, just as he wanted. “Uh, yeah sure, but why not ask your mother? Isn‟t she home with you? And I am kind of busy.” “Because…uh, she is resting…uh, really peacefully!” I looked for an excuse. I heard him chuckle and he said, “Ha-ha, ok then Julia. I will see you soon.” Then he hung up without waiting for my goodbye. I didn‟t really care that he hung up on me. I only cared that I was having my second play date with my best friend that cheered me up and took my mind off of things that troubled me. I skipped around in my room and I was feeling happy. Once in a while I would find something messy in my room and pick it up and when I was tired, I plopped down on my bed. I looked around my room and found that I had cleaned the whole thing without knowing. I knew this was part of my plan to make my mom happier and cheer her up from my

behavior. I got up my courage and went upstairs to talk to my angry, and also sad mother. As soon as I was up, I opened the door and found her on her bed, sleeping. I didn‟t want to wake her up. That would probably make her more mad. So instead, I raced outside her room and got out a pencil and a piece of paper. I wrote her a note. Mom, I am sorry for making you sad. I will change my behavior to make you feel better. I also asked Daddy on the phone if Rosie could come and stay for a bit to play. Would that be alright? I I couldn‟t even finish my letter before I heard my mother‟s walking towards me. I looked up and saw her tired, scrunched up face. “Hi Mommy. Did you sleep well?” I asked innocently as if I had done nothing wrong. She just stared down at my note for about five seconds and after she had finished reading it, she looked back at me and sighed. “Julia, it‟s not an apology I want.” She said softly. I stared back at her in surprise. “Huh?” I groaned. I was confused. I thought she was upset that I was doing badly in school. I was trying to make it up to her with all I had and she didn‟t except it? “I don‟t feel bad that you don‟t apologize, but I know you have always been a good girl and I was just shocked about the fact that your teacher called me for your bad behavior! I want a change of your ways in school. How long has this been going on, Julia?” “Well, just today. Today I wanted to do my plan that I was working on for a while. I was thinking about changing the next day too. And also after she gave me the zeros-“ I slapped my hand over my mouth. I should not have said that. I was planning never to tell her about that! She would be so mad at me! She glared back at me. “A zero? She gave you a zero?” she screamed with a scary stare. I sank back in my chair that I was sitting in. I decided to tell her more of the zero part, now that she already knew now. “Actually,” I started. “Three zeros. I had three worksheets on my paper and she took them all up and…” I trailed off. I knew she was mad enough. After I told her that, she must have had read my sad stare and she gave me a more sympathetic look. “Here, let me call her and try to get your grades up. Meanwhile at school, why don‟t you try and be the best you can be, like you are at home. You know I can‟t stand when you are a bad girl. I grounded you for three month when you talked back to your dad last year, and I don‟t want to ground you again for bad behavior and three zeros.” She went over to the phone and called the school. “Hello? Oh, yes this is Julia Tyler‟s mom…yes, may I please speak to Mrs. Faraday, the fourth grade teacher?” she asked very hopefully. She paused for a minute; I guessed she was just waiting for Mrs. Faraday to come on. Finally, her eyes lit up. I mouthed,” She is getting my grades up?” she shook her head and mouthed back,” Not yet.” She paused for another minute and said,” Hello! Oh, Mrs. Faraday? I would like to apologize about Julia. She promised me that she would never make you annoyed again and she said she would change her behavior! She also told me you gave her three zeros as a big punishment. I-“ I guessed she got interrupted by Mrs Faraday. “Oh, yes. And I would very much like if you would change her grade if she changes her behavior during class.” After a while, her eyes lit up again and she gave me thumbs up. “Thank you Mrs. Faraday!” she quickly took the phone off of her ear and shut it with enthusiasm. “Yes! Lucky for you, Julia,

because your grades are going up tomorrow! And hopefully she won‟t be mad at you anymore because I said sorry.” I got up from my chair and hugged her real tight. Without saying a word, I ran downstairs and almost slipped on the carpet and slammed the door behind me. Not in an angry way, but in a exciting way. I called Rosie to tell her that my dad said that she could come. She must have been waiting for me a long time. “Hello?” said her voice. “Hi! Sorry I took so long. I was talking to my mom.” “Wow. She must have been mad. So how‟d it go? Di you get in big trouble?” she asked. “Oh, no. Not really. She called Mrs. Faraday and told her to get my grades back up if I changed my ways in class. And anyways, I was planning to do that for just that day. I was already going to change my behavior the next day. So anyways, my dad said yes about you coming over. It is going to be fun!” I shouted happily. “Yeah, it is. So, uh, I guess I will see you tomorrow! Bye.” “Bye, see you later.” I hung up and took out my homework and started to work. After I finished my homework, my mom came into my room and asked me if I wanted to go figure skating practice at the mall. “Sure!” I replied. At that time, I really didn‟t care if Britney would be there. I could just ignore her if she butted into my moves even if I didn‟t do it well. And if Kylie was there, I would just ignore her as much as Britney. My mom dropped my off at the front of the mall and I walked in, wearing my skates with my skate guards. As soon as I walked in, I saw Lindsey. “Hi Julia!” she greeted me. “Are you excited for the Christmas program coming up soon? Wait, are you even entering?” The Christmas program! I totally forgot about that. This was the time I got serious and started practicing to get better than Britney. If I let her get better than me, then she would ruin me during the Christmas program. I ran into the ice rink, not caring if I would trip with my skates on. “Julia!” Lindsey called. “Oh! Sorry!” I had forgotten that she asked me a question. “Uh, yeah I‟m entering. That‟s why I came to practice today.” I want to be perfect! So when is the practice with the teachers? Like when are we learning how to perform it? How do we even know what moves we need to know?” I asked. “Beats me.” She replied. All I know is that the competition is soon and you will need the same moves. The competition! I forgot about that too! I needed to get more practice to beat Britney! I didn‟t want second place or third place, I wanted first place! I raced back over to the ice rink and shoved off my skate guards and put them in my bag. I rushed into the ice and started practicing. Of course I did fall a couple of times, practicing my jumps and spins. But afterwards, I got them all down. I was so going to beat Britney! Suddenly, I saw Britney come down the escalator and walk sadly towards the rink to practice. I felt a little sorry for her. But just a little. Why was she so sad? I went over to her. “Hey, Britney, what‟s the matter?” she looked at me with cold eyes. “Why should you care? You don‟t like me.” Her voice cracked. “Well, you look really down right now. Just tell me.” “It‟s Kylie! She doesn‟t like me anymore. She started yelling at me at school at the end of the day. I lost my best friend now! Even though everyone else is my friend, she was my favorite. She was the nicest.” Suddenly, I felt mad at her. She was the one who took Kylie away from me! She didn‟t know how I felt when

she is facing it right now! “Oh yeah? Well how do you think I felt when Kylie left me to be your friend? She was my best friend and when I tried to apologize to her, she told me to forget it. So I did. And now you, who stole my best friend, are looking at me?” she looked at me with understanding eyes, for once. “What? I did not take away Kylie. She came to me…well, actually…you‟re right. Wow. You mean I made you feel that bad? No wonder you kept screaming at me. I thought it was all for nothing. I am really sorry Julia. You know I have always liked you. I just kept bullying you because I thought Kylie still liked you and I thought that you didn‟t like me. Ok, I will admit this too. I was jealous of you. I thought you were the one with the better life with Kylie. That‟s why I tried to take her.” My eyes widened in surprise. “You were jealous of me? Are you serious? So…do you want to start over? I do.” I said awkwardly. “We could all be friends. You, me, Kylie, and Rosie, maybe…I mean if I talk to Kylie about you.” She shrugged, and for once, I understood her. I finally saw the real her. She gave me her number and we skated together and surprisingly, I was the one teaching her moves. It looked like my skating practice paid off, but not in the way I wanted it in the past. In the past, I want to practice to get better than Britney. Now, I just wanted to practice for the Christmas program and the competition. I felt better about it because I didn‟t have to rush anymore. I could just practice as much or as little as I want until I grew up. Either way, it would be a lot of practice, and I would enter the Olympics! It was Thursday, two days until Christmas break. It went by really fast, surprisingly. Today was the day that Rosie was sleeping over. I was really excited for her to finally come to my house. I really wanted to explain about what happened with Britney at the ice rink. I wanted us to be the group of four friends! Me, Rosie, Britney, and Kylie! After school, I went on the computer after finishing my homework and emailed Kylie about the whole Britney business. I just hoped that she wouldn‟t delete the email before she even read it. Before I could even push the send button, I heard the doorbell ring. I quickly sent the email and answered the door. I opened it and hid behind it so they would think I was invisible or something. But unfortunately, Rosie peeked behind the door and gave me a look that said,” That is the worst hiding place.” I smiled innocently and came out. “Hi Rosie!” “Hey, Julia!” we hugged and then I saw her mom outside the door. “Hello, Julia. I don‟t think I have ever had the pleasure of meeting your mom. Maybe…I mean, does she happen to be here?” “Oh! Hi! Yeah, she is going to be right out in a little. I‟m sure she is just in the bathroom or something, Mrs.…. What is your last name?” I asked in a mixture of guilt, frustration, and amusement. “Al-“ “Hi!” I glanced up at who was coming. Of course it was my mom! I finally was about to hear her last name, and she interrupts! “Oh! You must be Rosie! I know you of course because Julia always talks about you!” I glared at her and she turned her gaze on Rosie‟s mom. “Are you Rosie‟s mom?” “Yes! And you must be Julia‟s mother! Rosie talks about you too.”

They continued to talk while Rosie and I went downstairs and started playing. We fit a lot into the day. We did pretty much what Kylie and I used to do at our old sleepovers. We first went outside and jumped on my trampoline. Then we stayed outside and raced around the house with me only winning one of the time and her winning the rest of the two. Then we went back inside when my mom called us in for dinner. She ordered pizza. “Mom,” I said while nibbling on the tip of the pizza. “What time is it? And how much more time do we have until we have to sleep?” “Um, two and a half hours. Why?” she replied. “Just wondering.” I actually wanted to do prank calls with Rosie, but we wouldn‟t be able to call many people if it was too late. They would probably be asleep by then. “Oh! And how many more days until the Christmas program and the competition?” her eyes widened as if she had completely forgotten about it. “Oh! Um, let me check.” She sat up and walked over to the calendar on the refrigerator and pointed to the days. “Wow! Christmas program is coming up really soon. It is next week on Saturday, December the eighteenth! Your competition is on the Wednesday after that during Christmas break!” she came back over to the dining table and finished her last bite of the leftover crust. “That was great. Thank you, Mrs. Tyler. I haven‟t had regular pizza in a long time!” Rosie broke the silence. My mom cocked her head to the side. “Regular pizza? Do you…not have pizza at your house?” she asked curiously. “Oh! No. My house is strange. We forgot all about regular cheese pizza. Instead, we have lots of different kinds, like…” she turned to me and gave me a smile. “Pineapple with hot sauce.” I smiled back, remembering the time when I had went over to her house and she asked me what kind of food I wanted. I came up with the most complicated kind of pizza I could think of, being pineapple with hot sauce and she actually had it up in just a few short seconds. I was amazed. My mom nodded slowly. “Interesting. Ok, well, you guys can enjoy the rest of your time until your curfew. Which Julia‟s is at no later than ten thirty. What time does your mom make you sleep, Rosie?” “Oh, just the same.” “Ok, well, don‟t forget to brush your teeth and then I will check on you guys when it is time to sleep. You are excused.” She said and we rushed upstairs and quickly brushed our teeth. Then we went into my room and I put my phone on the small table on my floor and we both sat down on my airbed and leaned on my bed. We snuggled up in the blanket nearby and I grabbed the phone. “Ok! Who should we call first?” I asked excitedly. “Um…Oh! Got it! How about Mrs. Faraday? My mom and she used to be friends and she got her number and I know what it is!” Yes! She was perfect.

“Mrs. Faraday? Are you serious? Yeah, she is perfect! Ok, put her number in and don‟t forget the star sixty seven!” I gave her the phone and she typed in her number. Then she gave it to me and I cleared my voice. I knew Mrs. Faraday was in a happy mood because she answered the phone somewhat weirdly for a teacher to answer. “Yeah, Mommy?” she said. I put the phone on speaker so Rosie could hear what she was saying. “Uh, who is your mommy?” I asked in my scratchiest and deepest voice. “My name is…uh, Richard Gold! I just called you, because I don‟t know you, but I just wanted you to keep my child for the Christmas! You see, my family dinner will be very, very hectic because I have uh, eight children and like, half of them are little babies and toddlers! And two are coming home from college! Uh, you see, I need you to keep little Angela because my little Tyler and Tyra are twins and they are very wild and I can‟t deal with them with Angela around! And Gloria and Spencer coming from college-“Rosie started laughing. “Wait! Uh, I would be happy to keep a child for you, but unfortunately I have Christmas plans too! I have my husband and my son and my dog, and I am…I just can‟t keep…uh, Angela for you. But since I can‟t keep them, I feel very bad. What are you going to do?” “Oh, no! If you cannot keep my little Angela, then that is very bad for me, cause you see, I will not have any room for her because…I-“ “Ok! You know what? I will not keep your child and that is final!” then we heard her hang up. Then we both started to burst out laughing. “That was a good prank call, Julia!” she managed to choke out between her laughs. “Yeah! Ok, now you try. And remember to keep your voice deep and scratchy. Deep and scratchy!” “Ok! So who should I call?” I started thinking. “Oh! I know! Call Megan Strider! She‟s in our class and I was best friends with her in the beginning of the year! She is really gullible so it will be fun and easy. I got her phone number, here!” I took the phone from Rosie and typed in the number. Then I gave it back to her after dialing it in. we waited for Megan to pick up her phone and as soon as she did, we knew right away that this was going to be a fun call. “Uh, if this is a prank call then please hang up, or I will!” she answered and sounded strangely nervous. “Of course it‟s not a prank call!” Rosie shouted in her new voice. It sounded really scratchy as if she didn‟t even clear her voice. “Ok then, what do you got for me?” said Megan. I rolled my eyes at he. How much more dumber could she get? How did she even get into the fourth grade if she couldn‟t even block a prank call?

“Oh, um, well I want you to keep one of my daughters for the Christmas, because I have like, ten daughters and my Christmas will be so hectic! If you could just only keep one of my daughters…oh, let‟s just say…mah lil Carrie?” Said Rosie. “Uh, I would love to…just let me tell my mom.”

Grace Che Novel  

Julia Taylor Prologue After school, Kylie was coming to my house for a sleep over. Today was Friday and my mom was taking her ice skating wi...