Note: this book was republished as an e-book in May 2011.
Reasons why my life sucks right now
- The end of high school. You’d think that’s good, right? Remember that episode of Buffy where the demon snake eats everyone at her graduation? That would be an improvement over mine.
- Dorm life. Thumbs way up on moving away from home, but down, down, down on the Geek Dorm where I’ll spend the next four years. It’s going to take forever to hipify all those science and techno geeks.
- Dru’s wedding. She may be one of my best friends, but if she thinks I’m going to wear a pink and yellow plaid bridesmaid’s dress, she’s completely wacked out of her gourd.
- Romantic graduation present cruise…without the nummiest boyfriend on the face of the earth? One word: Waaaaaaaaah!
Read an Excerpt
Subject: It’s illegal to hire a hit man, right?
Date: June 11 2.34pm
I may have to kill Dru.
Subject: Re: It’s illegal to hire a hit man, right?
Date: June 11 12.47pm
> OMICROD! What’s happened now? Why do you want to kill Dru? Are you done with > your classes yet? Are you excited about graduation? I so wish I was graduating, too.
> School just isn’t the same without you. No one ever gets into trouble, or sets off the
> sprinkles in the gym, or has a teacher threaten to have them deported.
Hey, that thing with Horseface Naylor was blown totally out of proportion. She didn’t actually threaten to have me deported, she just said she wished someone would deport me. There’s a big difference.
I’ve got one more test, then the classes are over, woohoo! And Grad Weekend is so going to rock—I can’t wait to see Fang. I think everyone thought it was a bit weird that we’re going to Vancouver rather than that bed and breakfast in the San Juan Islands that Miss Pushy “I have a Pilgrim Name and was Senior Prom Queen and You Weren’t Nyah Nyah Nyah” Patience wanted, but boo hoo, I won, she lost, and we’re going to Vancouver in a week! That’ll teach her to beat me at the senior prom!
But I may still have to kill Dru.
Subject: Re: Yes it is illegal to hire a hit man
Date: June 11 12.58pm
> WHY DO YOU HAVE TO KILL DRU?????
Oooh, shouting in e-mail! That’s so ballsy of you. Hee! Ballsy! OK, acting adult here. Dru has gone off the deep end with this wedding thing. I thought at first all the wedding planning was kind of fun—I mean, how cool is it to go to a bridal store and try on wedding dresses (and in my case, maid of honor dresses)? But then Felix left to do his four year military thing, and Dru just isn’t coping well. Rather than admitting that she won’t be getting married until after he gets back, she’s in some sort of bridal denial!
“Dru, I’m you’re oldest and best friend,” I told her two days ago as we were doing commencement practice (shaking hands with one hand and accepting a diploma with the other). “You know I have only your best interests at heart.”
“Yeah,” she said, shoving a piece of paper at me. “No, Em, shake with your right, take the diploma with your left. It’s not that hard.”
“You’re not using your left hand to diploma me!”
“Yes, I am. See?” She turned around so she was facing in the same direction as me.
I narrowed my eyes at her hand with the diploma. “Oh. It didn’t look right.”
“That’s because it’s not, it’s left,” she said, shaking the piece of paper.
“I know that, I meant, it didn’t look right that your left was right.”
She blinked at me a couple of times. “Huh?”
“The right hand. It didn’t look right to me that your left hand was the right hand.”
Her mouth dropped open a little bit. “Em, are you, like, on drugs? ‘Cause that just didn’t make any sense!”
“Oh, ha ha, very funny miss comedian.” I snatched the diploma and stuffed it underneath my mattress.
“Well, what did you mean then?”
I opened my mouth to tell her, but I couldn’t think of a way to explain that didn’t involve a whiteboard and five colored pens. “Never mind.”
“Sheesh, Em. How do you expect to become a world renowned astrophysicist before you’re twenty-five if you can’t even tell your left from your right?”
“So I got a little mixed up! So what! I have things on my mind! Important things, like why Fang doesn’t love me any more!”
She rolled her eyes and dug the pretend diploma out from the bed. “Oh, man, we’re not going to go back to ‘Fang Doesn’t Love Me Land’ again, are we? Because I’m going to need white cheddar popcorn and a six pack of Diet Coke if we are.”
“He hasn’t called me in three weeks! THREE WHOLE WEEKS!”
“Oh, that’s nothing. Felix hasn’t called me in a month, and you don’t see me having a melt-down.”
“That’s because he’s at boot camp and not allowed to call you! But this is different! OMIGOD! Look how upset I am! I’m speaking in exclamation points!”
She laughed and whapped me on the arm with the paper. “You’re such an idiot at times, Em. Fang e-mails you every day, and that’s more than I get from Felix. Now do it again. Right hand shake, left hand take. It’s easy as pie.”
I wanted to make mean eyes at her, but I couldn’t because even I knew it was stupid to try to pretend that Fang didn’t love me. I sighed a tragic opera Camille-like sigh instead, and did the shake and take thing.
She didn’t let go of the diploma. “Em.”
“What?” I asked, wondering if someone would write an opera about my sad life—only without the tuberculosis and dying part. I bet if I was dying Fang would call me.
“What are you doing?”
I looked. The diploma was in my right hand. “Gah! I’m dyslexic or something! Stress has done this to me! I can’t take it any more! Oh, no, I’m talking in exclamation points again! Double gah with antlers on!”
Dru looked at me with her head tipped on one side. “You know, you do look a bit stressed out lately.”
“I am! Totally stressed!”
“I know just what you need to relax,” she said, grabbing her purse and turning it upside down on my bed.
Now, you’ve met Dru, so you know how she is about purses—she doesn’t like to go anywhere without taking enough stuff to cover any emergency, from Mr. Monthly Visitor suddenly appearing, to possible death by starvation on a mountain in Chile like those soccer guys that Brother is always going on about whenever Mom tries to make him eat Brussels sprouts, telling him he’s going to get some sort of horrible Old Guy disease if he doesn’t eat more leafy green stuff, at which point Brother says he’d rather die a cannibal than eat miniature wads of gack (i.e. the Brussels sprouts). Which I totally understand, because you know I hate them, too, although I do like asparagus and Brother claims they are alien pod spears dropped on earth to turn everyone into alien pod spear people. Honestly, I think Brother is going senile. It’s not the whole thing with insisting everyone call him Brother instead of his real name—I can understand the importance of having a cool name! Mom says he’s just eccentric and it’s part of his charm, but I’m thinking it’s time to start looking into some professional Old Person care for him, which is just sad, because I don’t know anyone else’s father who is deranged.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Dru’s purse. She had to shake it to get everything out, because there was so much wadded in there, it was like a dense black hole of Dru-Stuff.
“What, I need you to dump stuff all over on my bed so I can appreciate the fact that I don’t tote around approximately one hundred and seventy-two pounds of…hey! Isn’t that my bottle of smelly perfume that I don’t like, but have to keep because Fang gave it to me for Christmas?”
Dru shoved aside a pair of sparkly pink ankle socks (no comment…although you know how bad she looks in pink!), three lipsticks, her hairbrush, matching comb, a big mirror, her Brides Now! journal, and a bottle of water, pulling out the purple bottle of perfume that Fang had given me. “Oh, yeah, I was returning it, and forgot. Thanks for letting me borrow it. You’re right—it does make you smell like you’re your own grandma.”
I put the perfume on my dresser, right next to Fang’s picture, blowing him a little smooch because he was so thoughtful to try to get me something he thought I’d like (this year, I’m giving him an annotated list of my wants, complete with URLs to websites where he can buy the stuff).
“Oh, here it is,” Dru said, pulling out an object from the wad o’ stuff.
I narrowed my eyes at it. “That looks suspiciously like a magazine.”
She scooped everything else back into her purse, dropping it on the floor as she plopped onto the bed, patting the spot next to her. “This always makes me feel better when I get a bit stressy. Come and sit.”
“That’s not what I think it is, is it?” I asked, moving cautiously toward my desk where my birthday present from Bess was kept (I can’t tell you how handy it is to have a sister who is Wiccan).
Dru smoothed the magazine cover and smiled at it. “We haven’t done this in a long time, Em.”
I reached for the drawer, careful not to turn my back on her (never turn your back on someone armed with the horrible tool of destruction that Dru had). My hand felt around the drawer for the protection charm Bess had made me. “Dru, tell me it’s not what I think it is. Tell me it’s not that most horrible of all things…tell me it’s not—”
She smiled a big old piranha smile and held the magazine up so I could see the cover. “Young Bride magazine! Let’s pick out our dream wedding outfits!”
“Gah!” I yelled, spinning around to jerk the drawer out. It was empty. “Oh no, not again! Dermott! Stop hiding my stuff and give me back that charm! It’s the only thing that can save me from the horror of bride magazines!”
Dru cackled (honest to god, she cackled! That’s what bride magazines do to you! Stay away from them at all costs!), and said, “You don’t really believe your underwear drawer ghost followed you home all the way from England?”
I opened all the other drawers to find the charm. They were all empty too. Lately Dermott has taken to hiding things from me—it’s his newest game. Normally I don’t mind, unless it’s something important like my Victoria’s Secret stuff, but this was going too far! I needed that protection charm to save me from the evil influence of bride stuff!
“Thus speaketh someone who doesn’t have a ghost haunting her undies,” I said with much dignity, looking around my room trying to figure out where Dermott would put the things from the desk. I tried my dresser, but that just had clothes and the usual stuff. I sighed. “Ideas, Dru?”
“Hmm?” She looked up from the magazine, a glazed look to her eyes (I’m telling you—those things are pure evil!).
“Ideas on where Dermott has hidden the stuff from my desk?”
“Oh.” She looked around the room. “Shoes.”
“If I was a ghost, I’d hide things in shoes. But you know, Em, I think you’re way off with this ghost being Dermott. We released him! We did the séances and everything, and you had a whole ton of frogs in your room for days in order to release his spirit to a higher plane and all that biz. If you are haunted—and I’m kinda skeptical about that, Em, because I haven’t seen any signs of a ghost—then it’s got to be a different one.”
“Shoes,” I said scornfully, but not having any better idea, I went to look in the closet.
“Yup. That’s where I’d put stuff,” she said, going back to her mag. “Oooh, centerpieces made out of ice! I could have portraits of Felix and me done in ice! That would be so fabu!”
I pulled a small heart-shaped muslin bag from my pointy-toed ankle boot. “Wow. You were right, Dru. Good call!”
“You know I’m majorly psychic,” she said, turning the page. “Ooooooooh! Hand painted cakes! Em, you have to see this! Oh, and there are the sweetest bridesmaids dresses I found—they would be so cool! Let me show you. You’re going to love them—you could wear them after the wedding for parties and stuff.”
I sat down next to her on the bed, clutching my protection charm. “Dru, honey, sweetie…we need to have a little talk. It’s tough love time, babe.”
“I know I sticky noted the page with the bridesmaid dresses,” she muttered to herself, flipping through the magazine. One side of it bristled with sticky note tabs. “Maybe this is…no, that’s the push up bra I want.”
“I know you’re upset about Felix going ahead with his plan to join the army so he’ll have college paid for when he gets out. I understand that. If I was engaged and my fiancé did that, I’d have the hissy fit to end all hissy fits. But you didn’t hissy at all—and that worries me, Dru, because if anyone deserves the title of Class Drama Queen, it’s you.”
She glared at me over the top of the magazine. “I am so not the one in this room who is the drama queen, Miss Talking in Exclamation Points.”
I lifted my chin and tried to look down my nose at her like Brother does when those religious guys come around to the door trying to get him to join their church. “Hello! There is a big difference between stressing because your BF hasn’t called you in three weeks—that’s three, whole, entire weeks. Consecutive weeks!—and pretending that stuff that has happened hasn’t really happened.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, immersing herself in the mag again. “I’m engaged. I’m getting married.”
“Yeah, but not for four years! I know you want to plan your wedding, and yeah, I admit it was fun at first to think about it, but you’re obsessing about it now!”
“Look,” she said, turning the magazine around so I could see a page she marked. “I know you liked the slinky red dresses for bridesmaids, but I’ve rethought the red and black color scheme and I think this is much, much better.”
I stared in horror at the page. “You can’t be serious.”
“Of course I am,” she said, smiling at the page. “They’re soft, very feminine colors, don’t you think? They’ll look good on everyone.”
My skin crawled, Holly. I swear, it crawled. “Individually, yeah. The pale yellow is nice. The mauve would be nice with the right accessories. And I suppose if I had to, if world peace or something like that was on the line, the mint green is survivable. I mean, I’d have to ritually burn the dress after the wedding, but I would wear it. But no, Dru, no no no. No to the 18th power—a bridesmaid dress in yellow, mauve, and mint green plaid is just wrong!”
“I think they’re pretty,” she said, smoothing down the page.
“It violates the laws of nature,” I told her, squeezing the charm to get a bit of extra protection from it in case the evil bride magazine tried to take my brain like it took Dru’s.
“They’re spring colors, and you’re a spring.”
“That dress makes my eyeballs want to bleed,” I said. “It probably violates international human rights treaties. I bet just looking at it is classified as cruel and unusual punishment.”
“It’s my wedding.”
“If you live to see it, and I’m telling you right here and now, I am not going to be responsible for keeping the other bridesmaids from killing you if you try to foist that dress on us.”
“OMICROD,” she gasped, her eyes huge (glazed huge, not normal huge). “I could get matching tablecloths and napkins!”
I left the room after that. There was no other choice—even Bess’s most powerful protection charm couldn’t save me from a force as powerful as that.
Sigh again. You see what I mean? If Dru is serious about those bridesmaid dresses, death will be the only option. It will be merciful. No jury in the world would convict me, right?
Woops, gotta run. Time to run to the mall and buy a few things for Grad Weekend.
Huggles and all,