cover

 

 

Trading Faces

 

By Ann Herrick

 

 

Digital ISBNs

EPUB 978-1-77362-478-5

Kindle 978-1-77145-026-3

WEB 978-1-77362-479-2

 

Amazon Print 978-1-77362-480-8

 

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Copyright 2012 by Ann Herrick

Cover Art by Michelle Lee

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Chapter One

 

 

[Darcy]

 

As we reach our lockers, I nudge Pammie and whisper, “Look! It’s Cybil—I want her life!”

Pammie pushes her hair back for a second. She always holds her head down in public so her hair obscures her face. That’s her ostrich-like way of hiding out in a crowd. It works pretty well, except she has no peripheral vision. “What? Why?”

Just look at her.” I try to nod rather than point. “She’s new here, and after only three weeks into the school term—instant success.”

Here I am, fifteen years old, and still feeling invisible, still afraid people will laugh at me, or something, just as it’s been since way back on the first day in kindergarten. In seventh grade I did actually get up the nerve to talk to Jake Garland once, when he had a locker near me. He was the most gorgeous guy in school. He just gave me a cold stare. All the Socies snickered. I wanted to crawl into my locker and close the door behind me. After that, I avoided him. The only thing that saved me years of further detours at school was that he moved away at the end of eighth grade.

Yeah, it didn’t take her long to connect with Erin.” Pammie works the combination on her locker.

Everyone already knows who she is. It’s like she’s Queen of the Sophomore Class and we’re just … just serfs. She not only got in with the most popular girls in our class and made the cheerleading squad, now she has Devon Copperfield almost signed, sealed and delivered—to herself!”

Devon Copperfield?” Pammie looks over at me and I can see a question mark framed by her curtain of hair. “Oh, yeah, the exchange student from England. So?”

So … it’s unfair. Why does she have to be so beautiful? Why does she deserve that special in road to everything anyone could want in life? Did you know,” I say, as I pull my algebra book out of my locker, “that I saw her signing up for tomorrow’s tryouts for ‘My Fair Lady?’”

Pammie grabs two books from her locker, puts one back and gives me a look of surprise. “Really?”

Yeah, really ….” I swallow the lump in my throat and dump the algebra book into my book bag. “She’ll probably get whatever part she wants, just like that!” I snap my fingers.

But you said you were going to try out to be one of the maids. Cybil will probably try out for Eliza.”

I know. That’s just it.” I whisper so that no one in the hallway mob can hear me. At least Winston and Malcolm are not at their lockers yet. They listen in on everything. “She can try out for Eliza, because once Eliza’s in Professor Higgins’ hands she’s beautiful! Sure, I’d love to be Eliza, but I can’t even think about it. I don’t look the part. It’s … it’s not fair.” I think Pammie doesn’t worry much about her looks one way or the other, except sometimes maybe her hair, at least as far as I can tell. Maybe it’s because she’s artistic and great artists don’t have to be great looking.

Pammie puts her hand on my shoulder. “Sorry. I guess that’s just the way it is.”

Yeah,” I say. “I guess.” I realize Pammie’s probably right, but still I’m thinking, It’s not fair. Why can’t I be beautiful, why can’t I be like Cybil, so I can have everything I want? I’m so plain I’m invisible and I’m losing out because of it! Being not pretty is a definite roadblock in life. I mean the school musical is one of the events of the year. The whole town attends, because it’s always a fundraiser for a charity. This year it’s some Return to Work project for disadvantaged women, giving them job interview type clothes and good haircuts and other stuff. That’s a good cause, I guess, but the main thing is—I want to be in the play and it’s not fair I have no chance of being Eliza!

 

[Cybil]

 

There you are!” Erin says, as she, Rachel and Vanna catch up with me in the hall.

It’s mostly a good thing I got in with a popular, great looking group on, like, the first day at school. It is totally cool that I could just move right in and not have to sit on the sidelines by myself as The New Girl for even one day. When I audition for the part of Eliza in “My Fair Lady,” my looks will help me every bit as much as my voice.

But being part of the beautiful, popular crowd is sometimes practically suffocating. I mean, okay, Rachel and Vanna are nice enough, but it’s like they so totally idolize Erin that I wonder if they ever think for themselves. And sometimes I wonder why Erin latched on to me so quickly. I mean, okay, I sat next to her in Home Room on the first day of school and started talking and discovered we both like snow skiing, softball and pink opal glaze nail polish.

Sometimes I wonder—what if she, like, thinks I’m too pretty—meaning prettier than her, which to be honest, I am, and she wants to keep an eye on me? You know, a keep your friends close and your enemies closer thing. If I weren’t so pretty, she maybe wouldn’t have bothered with me at all. Okay, that’s a stretch. People always want to be friends with me, and the friends I’ve had were good ones. Erin does, you know, say we are Best Friends Forever, her and me and Vanna and Rachel.

I do wonder, though, if maybe, just maybe it’d be better not being so totally pretty. I mean, it could give me some anonymity, take away some of the pressure of always being looked at. I’d know for sure my friends liked me for me—on the inside.

Hullo, Luv.” Devon appears and sneaks a quick kiss on my cheek, risking a morning of Saturday school if he gets caught breaking the No Kissing rule Principal Snyder wants strictly enforced. She says students have all the rest of their lives to kiss, but only so much time for school. I guess you think that way if you’re a principal.

Hi, Devon!” says Erin, who suddenly gets all touchy feeling/smiley/eyelash batting with him.

I slip my arm though Devon’s, just to remind him—and Erin—I’m the one and only girl in his life, at least until he goes back to England. I mean, just because I have a few tiny, you know, doubts about the values of being beautiful doesn’t mean I’m going to let Erin get her greedy little paws all over my guy.

 

[Darcy]

 

We’re home!” I drop my book bag on the hall table. I and my brother, Joey—who is a senior, but almost as anonymous as I am—head straight for the kitchen. We are, as usual, starved.

Hi!” Mom is at the kitchen sink, washing pottery clay off her hands. I guess she’s been out in her workshop making pots and bowls. Other mothers are lawyers, architects, or interior decorators (like Cybil’s mother—I saw her picture in the Business Beat section of the newspaper), but Mom settled for a dorky, hippy dippy lifestyle with Dad, who is second-generation hippie. She bakes bread. He cuts firewood, by hand, and only just so much, so he keeps the woods on our property sustainable.

Joey heads straight for the cookie jar, which is filled with Mom’s home made raspberry-carob cookies. I grab a banana.

Got a call from your Aunt Julia,” Mom says, as she dries her hands on a towel on which she embroidered a picture of an apple, a steaming cup of coffee, toast, and the word “Breakfast” under it. We have scads of these towels embroidered with meal related stuff like that.

My banana’s ripe, but not as ripe as I’d like. It’s not bad, though, so I keep eating it. Mom hates it when she finds half a banana back in the fruit bowl.

Oh, yeah? How’s Aunt Julia?” I ask, though I have a good idea. Aunt Julia is Mom’s much prettier sister who lives in New York and leads a glamorous life dating Broadway assistant producers, guys who play on special teams for the Giants and once even a guy who worked for Newsweek who started out answering the hate mail and wound up a Senior Writer. She’s a buyer for a little boutique called Ziva’s, and sends me clothes from there, which are really nice but I don’t dare even try on because I don’t live up to them. Mom is always trying to get me to wear some of the stuff, acting as if Aunt Julia would be disappointed if she knew I didn’t, but really I think it’s because Mom would like me to be as pretty and therefore as popular and successful as Aunt Julia. Aunt Julia sends Mom clothes too, but she seems to know exactly what Mom likes and will also look great on her. Mom doesn’t realize the clothes I get wouldn’t make me look better. I’d make the clothes look bad. So in my closet they stay.

She had dinner with an assistant to the Mayor!” Mom gushes, as she launches into the latest of Aunt Julia’s many adventures.

 

[Cybil]

 

Hi, Mother.” Everyone, of course, looks as I slide into the front seat of the BMW. Tommy, already in the back seat because Mother picks him up first at grade school, sticks his tongue out at me. Mother starts in about how we just have to pick out a pageant dress soon. I’m not about to disagree—I mean, I’ve, like, never directly disagreed with Mother in my life, and I’m not about to start now. But I do tune her out.

A bus pulls out ahead of us and I wonder what it’d be like to ride home on one. Okay, so most kids would rather walk, drive or be put on one of those rack things from the Middle Ages than ride the school bus, but, I don’t know, I see a lot of laughing and other stuff that kind of seems like fun going on inside. Of course, maybe they’re all hyper because school just got out. Still, I wonder.

At home I go right up to my room and hop on the computer. I’ve got six emails from friends in Lake Oswego, where I lived until two weeks before the start of school this year. We moved to Evanville because Father accepted an offer to join the Harmony Health & Beauty Clinic, which is a group of six Plastic Surgeons. The number of messages is way down from just a couple of weeks ago, and they’re all short and not especially interesting. Yeah, they all say miss ya, but that’s not news and it doesn’t take much effort either. As for phone calls or text messages, forget it. That stopped within days of moving away.

At dinner, which, for me, is what I always have—a salad—Mother blabs on about shopping for a dress tomorrow. “… right after school.”

I go, “Mmm,” but I’m not really paying attention. I pick at my Endive Avocado Salad. “I’m going to audition for the part of Eliza in the school play,” I start to say, but Mother breaks in with how it’s so totally great there’s a shop like Sylvia’s Closet in Evansville, so we don’t have to drive all the way to Lake Oswego or Portland to find a dress.

Father isn’t home yet, because, well, most doctors are just never home—he says. Without Father’s evil eye stare to discourage him, Tommy is a whirl of perpetual activity. He wiggles in his chair, tips it back on two legs, eats with his fingers. He spills his milk, at which point Father, on the rare occasion he’s home for dinner, would send him from the table. But Mother mops up the spill and goes right on talking about whatever it is she’s talking about now.

Some day, just for the experience, I’d like to, you know, enjoy a peaceful family dinner—with all four of us in the same room.

 

[Darcy]

 

Darcy, would you take the table scraps out to the chickens?” Dad says as he carefully wipes his beard with his napkin, just in case he got a speck of food in there, which, thank goodness, he rarely does. Food in beards grosses me out.

Sure,” I say. Although Dad phrased it as a question, it was really a reminder. I am not fond of feeding the chickens, although I do have to say I like the fresh eggs. I gather up the food scraps from dinner onto a plate, crumble up some bread and throw that on there, too. That stuff supplements the chicken feed I have to give them each morning. Once I have enough variety of scraps, some squishy tomatoes, a few overly ripe raspberries, some melon rind and the bread, I head for the chicken coop. Joey will put any other scraps in the compost heap.

The chickens always have access to the coop, which is attached to the garage. There’s a fenced in area around the coop, so the chickens have plenty of room to roam around and scratch for grasshoppers and stuff during the day. With all the food we give them they probably don’t need to eat bugs, but I think they enjoy the scratching around.

I toss the food around the fenced-in area. The chickens rush over and start pecking, except for Gertie, a speckled hen who is my favorite. I think she thinks she’s a dog or something, because she always comes up to me and wants to be petted.

Hi, Gertie,” I say, as I stroke her feathers. She clucks her hello, then goes and pecks at the scraps. I head into the coop and gather eggs. It’s easier when the chickens aren’t in there, though they don’t usually fuss if they are. I find six eggs. I carefully step around the chickens on my way out of the fenced in area, and make sure I lock the gate, more so that nothing gets in. The chickens are good about putting themselves to bed in the coop at night.

I’m sure Cybil Sheffield doesn’t have to feed chickens twice a day. I bet she lives in a huge, fantastic house with a swimming pool instead of a chicken coop. I know her mother drives a BMW and not an old van, because I’ve seen Cybil getting picked up at school. Door to door in a luxury car sure beats bouncing around the back roads of Evansville in a school bus.

After Joey and I do the dishes (by hand—I’m sure Cybil, like most civilized people, has a dishwasher, though hers is no doubt top of the line, and she probably doesn’t even have to load it), I head up to my room. After finishing three tons of homework, I pull out my diary. My grandmother gave it to me a couple years ago. It’s dark brown leather with “Diary” spelled out in gold. It even has the proverbial lock and key. I know it’s old fashioned. I guess I should have a blog or something, but this is more private and our one and only computer not only is in the family room, we don’t have internet anyway. It’s strictly for word processing for stuff like homework, and a program for bookkeeping. According to Dad, “That’s all anyone needs.”

I keep my diary key hidden in a crack of one of the floorboards in a corner of the room. Not that anyone would look for it. Everyone in this family knows how dull my life is.

Thursday, 9 14, 10:48 p.m.

Dear Diary,

I’m completely tired of being average.

Wait. No. That’s not true. For me, average would be an improvement!

Don’t even get me started on how unfair it is that I wound up with boring brown hair, close set eyes, a nose that is too wide, and a smile that is just a little too crooked for me to ever be beautiful/pretty/or even cute. I don’t look interesting enough to qualify as exotic or mysterious. I’m completely off the social radar.

My life is so lame!

If I were prettier, people would listen to me. No, not just listen, hang on my every word. Be my adoring audience. Is this too much to ask???

If only I could wake up one day and be beautiful, just like Cybil, maybe have a nose that fits under a dime. That’s all I’ve wanted for Christmas since I was … well, ten. Then I could have a life as great as Cybil’s.

And the thing is, now’s the perfect time. I’m only three weeks into my sophomore year at John Nance Garner High (I know—who names a school after a vice president, especially one from Texas when this is Oregon, right?), so I’d have almost three years to reap the Benefits of Enviable Beauty (of which there are many, I’m convinced) while I’m still young enough to appreciate them! Maybe I could even say hi to a hot guy without choking. For sure I’d have a way better chance at getting the part of Eliza. I’d at least try out for it.

Blah, blah, blah. I have to start reading three chapters of Silas Marner. I can’t believe the old guy mistook the little girl’s curls for his missing gold. I’d better stop fantasizing and start reading.

Signing off,

Darcy Doane

 

[Cybil]

 

I so need to blog. It helps me think. I hop on the computer, logging on with my secret password. Just because I have my own computer in my own room doesn’t mean someone else (prime example: Tommy) couldn’t snoop.

www.blogging.com/beautyqueen

Thursday, 10:48 p.m.

I’ve so been doing a lot of thinking, and I’m wondering about this whole deal of being really great looking.

Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to not always be the center of attention. To be more … ordinary. You know, to just, like, be in the shadows and go about my life without everyone watching every move I make. The whole world checks out my hair, my clothes, my makeup. I mean, it might be nice to have a life without all the pressure, and to just be judged on, you know, me. Not my looks.

And then there are guys. First there’s every dork and dweeb who thinks he’s in love with me. They’ve all seen movies where the nerd wins the beautiful girl and that gives them this, you know, false hope. Then there are the jocks and assorted Socies who want to wear a beautiful girl on their arms like an accessory. How am I supposed to know if a guy likes me for me and not just because I’m so great looking? There’s Devon Copperfield, who is all that and then some. I think he’ll take care of this year, but being an exchange student and all, he’ll be gone by June. There’s my whole future to worry about.

Of course, there’s Mother, who wants to recreate her life through me. The whole beauty pageant bit. Yeah, the local pageants are okay, quick and easy to win. And, I mean, I’m sure I could, like, breeze through the competition to the title of Miss Most Beautiful Teen of Oregon. I’m not sure I want to spend the next year of my life devoted to the Miss Most Beautiful Teen of America pageant. There’s stuff a lot more, I don’t know … helpful I could do with my life. Maybe if I had ordinary looks Mother would drop the whole pageant business.

Maybe if I weren’t so beautiful Father would want to be at home more and, you know, be a daddy to me, because he wouldn’t think I already have it made in life because of my looks.

There are a few things I’d rather be doing than parading my looks before panels of judges. Besides softball, chorus and cheerleading, I really want the lead in this year’s school play. I mean, I’d make a perfect Eliza. I can hit the high notes of “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and it would so be a challenge to play a scruffy cockney flower girl and all. I know that Jillian Kingsbury thinks she has a lock on the role, because she’s a senior and all. But I’m sure once I audition, I’ll have the part.

TTFN,

Cybil

COMMENTS:

Thursday, 10:51 p.m., Wildflower

Cybil, you are, like, so deep to want to be judged on more than just your looks.

Thursday, 11:08 p.m., Anonymous

No way u cud b anything but bew t ful. I remain 4ever ur devoted luv slave. ILY

Thursday, 11:14 p.m., dontworrybehappy

Oooo, trés interesting post. You are sooo right. Props for your attitude, girl. A person should totally look deep inside another person, not just on the surface.s

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

[Darcy]

 

Yaaaawn. Even my dreams are boring. I mean, who re enacts scenes from Silas Marner in her sleep?

It’s Friday. I just have to suffer through six hours of school, the audition, band for the football game tonight and then, once I get the little matter of four megatons of homework out of the way, I’ll have the whole weekend to read, watch the Classic Movie Channel and crush on Devon Coppersmith from afar. That’s much less complicated than drooling over him while he hovers around Cybil, who can have her pick of guys and is probably just toying with him.

I can’t fathom why my brother Joey is soooooooooo in love with her, but is too terrified to ask her out. I saw the way he looked at her on the first day of school. It took me a week, but one morning on the walk to the bus stop I brought up her name and finally got him to confess his undying love. Okay, he didn’t say that, exactly, but I could tell he’s definitely in serious “like,” if not love. So why not ask her out? I mean, he’s a senior and she’s a sophomore, like me. Okay, she’s drop dead gorgeous and he’s even shyer than I am. But, unlike me, he inherited the best of Mom’s and Dad’s features, which still isn’t great, but at least adds up to reasonably cute. Who can figure brothers?

Brrrr. It’s cold in here. I must’ve left a window open. Uuuuh. I hate to get out from under the covers. One, two, three, fling.

My teeth chatter as I hunt for my slippers. Where’s the carpet? It feels like … like wood under my feet. Maybe I’m still dreaming that I’m in Silas Marner’s cottage. I pinch myself.

Ouch!

What’s going on? Why is it so dark in here, anyway? Did the hall nightlight burn out or something? Where’s the lamp?

Where’s the nightstand?

What’s this? The wall? Okay, I follow the wall and find the light switch. Ack! I’ve run out of wall. Did I leave my bedroom door open?

Where am I?

There’s a nightlight here reflecting off a mirror. Somehow, I find myself in a strange bathroom with a granite floor. I flick the light switch on and see myself in the big, full wall mirror. I take a good look.

Cybil Sheffield?

I lean in close and blink. Cybil blinks. I smile. Cybil smiles. Her smile is dazzling.

I nod. Cybil nods. I touch my nose. Cybil touches her nose.

Wait a minute. I can feel my nose, and it is cute and round and small enough to fit under a dime! I’ve morphed into Cybil! Wow! Is this for real? Maybe I should pinch myself again. Ow!

I take another look. Yes! I am Cybil. Even in the morning, without makeup, she looks beautiful. Her hair’s barely even messed up.

I look at my hands. Instead of large hands with thick fingers and clipped fingernails, I’ve got little hands and oval fingernails painted with Cybil’s trademark Pink Opal Glaze nail polish. Hey, my toenails are painted Pink Opal Glaze, too. Who knew?

Upon further examination I also detect a pair of pointy, perky breasts, way bigger than mine even when I’m bloated, peering through the semi sheer nightgown I’m wearing instead of my over sized T-shirt. Wow, I’m not even sure what to do with these babies. I’ll have to learn to use them wisely.

What am I thinking? Okay, for some reason, I look like Cybil, and I’ve been transported to some bedroom that must be hers. But how? Why? And, anyway, even if I look like Cybil, can I possibly pull off being Cybil? I don’t know how to act popular. I don’t even know to talk to most people. It’s not as if I grew up looking beautiful and wearing great clothes, which must make everything much easier.

Clothes! Maybe I should get dressed. Maybe I could think better with clothes on. I certainly can’t run around in this … this nightie all day.

What day is this, anyway? Friday? Yikes! I’ve got an algebra test—

No, wait. Darcy has an algebra test. Wait, a few days ago Cybil was moved into the class. Does she study? Huh? Why am I even thinking about algebra?

What am I going to do? What about Mom and Dad and Joey? Do they think I’m missing? Am I missing? Are they frantically searching the house and the woods for me? Or am “I” still home? Maybe “I’m” sitting at the breakfast table eating Grape Nuts, as usual. Maybe “I” have turned into an android.

Or. Maybe Cybil has been turned into me?

 

[Cybil]

 

I peer into the mirror over the dresser. The light is not great in here, so everything looks a little blurry. Ack! I slap my head with both hands. I went to bed great looking and woke up … yuck! Total nerd! Dull, stringy hair—definitely not my color—close set eyes … and this nose. I run my fingers over the bridge of it. Where’s my perfect little nose? Where did this wide one come from? Did I bump into the bedpost in my sleep or something?

What happened? Whose face is this? Maybe someone from school? Why is it suddenly my face? I try to think. Is this a nightmare? Well, of course, looking like this is a nightmare, but, I mean, am I really awake? If I’m asking myself that question, I must be! Wait. Maybe I’m just … just not completely awake yet. I close my eyes, count to ten, yawn, stretch, open my eyes and look in the mirror again. Eeew! That face is still there.

And my room. What’s with the log cabin walls, braided rugs and country kitch décor?

I run around the room. Where’s my four poster queen sized bed? I open doors. Where’s my walk in closet? Where’s my bathroom?

Okay, calm down. Think! Maybe I can look this up on the internet. Ack!

Where’s my computer?

I sit on the edge of the bed. Hmm, a quilt bedspread. How department store. Wait a sec. This looks like a genuine hand made quilt—

I take a deep breath. Maybe … maybe Mother worked her decorating witchcraft in here. I mean, she is a “Consulting Interior Designer; Residential; Designing Space for Your Lifestyle; Over Twenty Years Experience; Evening Appointments Available; Member ASID.”

She put herself through design school with the piles of beauty pageant scholarships she won. Everything from Miss Grass Seed Queen all the way up to Fourth Runner Up in the Miss Most Beautiful Teen of America pageant where she also won the Talent Contest with her piano rendition of Footloose. So she also knows makeup. Maybe she gave me and my room some kind of reverse makeover in my sleep.

But why would Mother do such a sick, cruel thing? There’s only one way to find out.

I find the closet. Ack, what a dinky closet, and the clothes—yipe, what a mess! I grab a robe to cover the graying T shirt draped over my—eek! Where are my boobs?

I’ve got to find some answers before things get any worse.

I peek out into the hall and find the same cabin look out there. This is so not good. I tiptoe down the hall and creep down the stairs. I see light spilling through a doorway to my left. Maybe that’s the kitchen?

It is.

Problem. There are three people sitting around a scrub top kitchen table. I have zero clue who they are and no idea where I am.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

[Darcy]

 

I’m still not sure what’s going on, but I do know that I’m starving. I wonder if I should get dressed for breakfast? I know Cybil’s mother is not just an interior decorator; she’s a big-time interior decorator. I mean, not just anyone gets her picture was in “New People” in the Business Beat section of the Evansville Register newspaper. Her Dad’s a plastic surgeon—I saw his ad on TV—I so I’m thinking I’d better show up dressed.

I notice the mirror over the dresser next to the bed is plastered with pictures of gorgeous guys—and Devon is prominently displayed! The dresser just has underwear, though it’s all beautiful, totally silk and lace. I find the closet—walk-in, of course—and look around. There’s Cybil’s cheerleading uniform! I can’t wear it to school, but tonight, for the game …!

Everything is arranged and labeled by category. School. Weekends. Parties. School is sub divided into seasons. Since it is still early September, I’m not sure if I should search through Summer or Fall. I decide on Summer.

I can’t believe all the yummy outfits. This isn’t going to be easy. I wear mostly jeans. I mean, when you have a blah face there’s not much point in even trying to look great. However, I now have Cybil’s Look to live up to. I wish I had all day to decide what to wear. But I don’t.

I choose a purple-ish shirt that’s already hanging there teamed with a black bubble skirt. A pair of aqua blue platform sandals practically call out to me. As I dress, I discover that Cybil is left handed. Who knew? It makes buttoning clothes sort of backward-feeling for a second, but I quickly get used to it. Since the mornings are getting cool, I grab a black bomber jacket. I spot clear plastic boxes filled with jewelry and pick out a blue, wide, bangle bracelet. Everything looks cool—to me. I hope I’m doing something right, fashion wise. I need to live up to Cybil’s image. Talk about pressure!

I lay out all the stuff on the bed, then hop in the shower. I think I can very easily get used the perfumed soap (Channel No. 5?). As I dry off with the softest, thickest towel I’ve ever used in my life, I hunt around for deodorant. I find that, along with the biggest collection of face creams I’ve seen outside a department store. I’m not sure what is what, so I slather on a little bit of everything.

I comb my hair. All it takes is a few seconds with the curling iron and my hair looks just like Cybil’s. Well, of course, it is Cybil’s, but I mean, I manage to style it just like Cybil’s—or close enough. Then there’s the makeup. I’m not used to much makeup, but from what I’ve seen, Cybil doesn’t pile it on, so maybe I can do this. I pick Baby Pink from one of the fifteen shades of pink lipstick and Morning Rose from the six shades of pink blusher. There is only one shade of eyeliner, gray black. I’m not sure if Cybil lines both her upper and lower lids. I slowly, carefully line my upper lids with a really, really thin line. I think that looks right, so I stop there and get dressed.

Okay. Show time. My stomach twists into knots. I hope I can pull this off.

I head down the hall, hoping I’m going in the right direction. Suddenly a door opens and out pops a boy who looks about seven years old. He’s in his pajamas and he wrinkles his nose at me. Cybil’s kid brother. I’ve seen him at school sometimes when Mrs. Sheffield picks up Cybil in the BMW.

What is his name? I know I’ve heard it … oh, yeah.

Hi, Tommy.”

 

[Tommy]

 

What’s with melon face?

 

[Darcy]

 

He looks at me as if I have string beans coming out my nose. Maybe his name isn’t Tommy. Maybe I should’ve kept my mouth shut. I try to think. Pammie, who is my best (okay, only) friend, has a kid brother and she never calls him by name, unless you consider goofball or rodent a name. Maybe the best thing to do is ignore him. I avoid eye contact and walk right past him.