I (Saige, of course) strode into the living room, where all my sisters were gathered around Loren’s huge laptop, looking at Isabelle’s Pinterest page. Tracy, of course, thought the images of tutu-clad dancers were b-o-r–i-n-g, but everyone else was oohing and ahhing over the photographs.
“Has anyone seen Lyric?” I asked. I’d been planing to give our Siamese cat a make-over, but in order to do that, I needed to actually locate the feline.
Molly glanced at me and shrugged. “You could look outside,” she suggested.
Taking Molly’s advice, I slipped out the back door and called, “Lyric! Here, kitty, kitty.” I walked around the deck, searching for her, and that’s when I spotted the girl in the ferns. She was blonde, not much older than me, I guessed. Her back was pressed against a giant pot, with ferns dripping down all around her. Lyric was leaning against her leg, watching the strange girl as she deftly played a golden-orange guitar.
Unafraid, I marched up to her and demanded, in a flood of words, “Who are? What are you doing here? Are are trying to steal my cat?”
The girl’s guitar music faded and she gazed up at me through thick, dark eyelashes. She had deep, searching chocolate eyes. “N-nevaeh,” she stammered shyly. “I’d never take your cat.” She spoke softly, shrinking back into the overhanging ferns.
I stared at the red-headed girl, gently rubbing my guitar with my wrist out of habit. She certainly asked a lot of questions, and I could only think of simple answers. The reason for my sentences’ simpleness was that I had noticed the wary, dreading look in her turquoise eyes and the stiffness in her shoulders . . . almost like she was afraid of me, something that I might say or do.
“OK,” she said tightly. “Tell me your full name.”
I didn’t know why she’d want to learn my full name, but I told her anyway: “Nevaeh Allison Taylor.”
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
Good question, I thought, sighing. I tucked my instrument into its velvet-lined case as I tried to figure out how to tell her. I doubted she would take it well.
She put her hands on her hips and tapped her foot impatiently.
“Well . . .” I started, deciding to tell half of the truth. “I’m going to be staying with your family for a bit.” That much was true — I was going to live with her, but not “for a bit.” I should’ve said permanently, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that.
“Great,” she moaned. “Another one. Don’t tell me — you’re an orphan, right?”
I caught my breath. How did she know? She couldn’t possibly know . . . what happened to Mom and Dad . . .
The girl turned towards the house and shouted, “You guys should come on out! Mom got us another surprise . . .” She practically snarled the last bit.
I’m well aware of your hatred, I thought testily.
I’d slipped my arms through the elastic on the back of my guitar case and was ready to stalk off to some remote corner of the yard so I could get away from the snappish girl when the back door was thrown open and eight girls stampeded out. They swarmed around me, squealing things like, “I love your hair!” “Your dress is really pretty!” and “You play guitar?”
I wanted to crawl back under the ferns with the Siamese cat, where it was nice and quiet, but stood uncomfortably in the midst of the girls and smiled grimly.
“Hey,” one girl with short black hair and bangs called, “give her some space.”
I flashed the girl a grateful smile as everyone took a few steps back. I told them my name, and then one older girl with long, shiny blonde curls introduced her sisters: Tracy, the sports master; Saige, the artist; Molly, the animal lover; Emily, the fangirl; Isabelle, the dancer; Ivy, the gymnast; Savannah, the actress; MJ, the singer; and herself, Caroline.
The girl named MJ walked up to me, grinning, and suddenly I recognized her.
“Mary-Jane Valdez!” I burst out. “You’re the famous singer.”
She nodded and shook my hand. “Nice to meet you, Nevaeh. You play guitar?” When I nodded eagerly, she said, “We should make music together sometime.”
I beamed at her. Mary-Jane Valdez wanted to make music with me, a shy girl from West Virginia!
The dark-haired girl called Ivy rushed up to me. “Do you have any bags?” she asked, pushing MJ aside.
“Um, just one,” I replied. I pointed at my purple suitcase, which was under the ferns. “I can get it –“
Before I’d even finished my sentence, Ivy had grabbed the suitcase. “This is really light!” she remarked. I started to reply, but she cut me short by commenting, “Lyric seems to like you. I mean, the cat does. We’ve had for for almost a year and she hasn’t taken to anyone, not really. She should be your pet!”
“Thank you,” I breathed, stroking the cat’s head. Everyone here was so kind — complimenting me, carrying my bags, offering me a pet of my own!
Once everyone else had greeted me, I began to tremble. Being around so many people was exhausting! I couldn’t wait for everything to settle down so I could get some alone time.
MJ came up to me and put a hand on my shoulder. “You’ll be just fine here, Nevaeh,” she murmured. “Just fine.”
And the strange thing was? Maybe a little part of me believed her.
Nevaeh Allison Taylor would be just fine.
YES! I got another doll: Truly Me #24. I bought her on the 12th when I was in Washington D.C. with my family. Isn’t she adorable?!
I also bought Grace’s Sightseeing Outfit, which I’ve been wanting ever since it came out. 🙂
I got the Guitar Set.
And my awesome dad bought one of the in-store specials — a jacket.
Expect some reviews in the near future!