Read an Excerpt
"You're kidding!" Mary-Kate Burke said to her sister, Ashley. "This place? We're supposed to have our Spring Fling dance in here?"
"Not just the Spring Fling dance," Samantha Kramer chimed in. "They think we're going to be spending all our free time here! Welcome to the new Student Union for White Oak Academy and Harrington."
"But it's just a storage building!" Mary-Kate complained. "It's dark, it's grungy, it's smelly, and . . . and . . . I think I saw a mouse!"
"A mouse? Yuk! Where!" Dana Woletsky screeched.
"It went under there," Mary-Kate said, pointing to a pile of old mattresses in the comer.
Ashley gazed around at the dusty storage building. She didn't see the mouse. But her sister was rightit dark and grungy. And smelly.
Well, at least it's big, Ashley thought.
And the reason it was dark was because so much stuff was piled in front of the windows. The place was filled to the brim with old chairs and mattresses, boxes, out-of-date textbooks, broken brooms, and rusty old gardening equipment.
Once it's cleaned out, Ashley realized, it's going to be a nice big space. With a little paint, some new furniture, lights, and a sound system, it could be a great Student Union.
The storage building was on the property of White Oak Academythe New Hampshire boarding school that Ashley and Mary-Kate attended. Right next door was the Harrington School for Boys. The new Student U was going to be used by the First and Second Forms in both schools. That's what the seventh and eighth grades were called.
In other words, it was a dream come true as far as Ashley wasconcerned. The guys and the girls were going to be able to hang out together all the timenot just on the few days when they had the same classes.
Ashley was the head of the girls' committee in charge of fixing up the old building.
"Trust me", she said. "When I get done with it, this place is going to look fabulous!"
"Well, you're the boss," Samantha said. "Where do we start?"
"Just grab some stuff and start hauling it out," Ashley said. "Mr. Frangianella will be here pretty soon to show us which stuff is trash and which is treasure.
"You mean we're supposed to touch that mess?" Dana Woletsky asked. "I just had my nails done." She wrinkled up her nose and made a face.
Trust Dana to start complaining right away, Ashley thought. Dana was snooty and usually acted like she owned the whole school. She obviously thought she was the queen of the First Form.
"If you want to be on the committee, you've got to work," Ashley said.
"Fine," Dana said, inching toward a pile of boxes. "But what about the mouse?"
"A mouse? Cool. Where?" a boy's voice called out.
Ashley whirled around. A group of guys from Harrington were standing in the open doorway. They were going to help clean up the Student U, too.
"Where's the mouse?" Grant Marino repeated.
Ashley glanced at her sister and saw Mary-Kate blush. Mary-Kate used to have a real crush on Grant. "It ran under there." Mary-Kate pointed to the mattresses again.
"Forget the mouse," Ross Lambert said. "Let's start hauling this junk out of here."
Grant and Marty Silver moved toward the pile of stuff. "I'll be with you guys in a moment," Ross continued. "Just as soon as I have a talk with Ashley."
Ross wants to talk to me? Ashley thought. Maybe he wants to ask me to the Spring Fling dance!
Her heart skipped a beat.
Ross was the first guy Ashley had a crush on when she came to White Oak. He had big brown eyes, sandy brown hair, and dimples. She was always a sucker for dimples.
Ashley knew Ross liked her, too. Sometimes they went out for pizza or to a movie. She even went to her first big dance with him. Ashley thought of Ross as her sort-of boyfriend.
Ashley pushed her long blond hair out of her eyes and smiled at him. "What's up?" she asked, trying to sound casual.
"We're supposed to talk about the Student U," Ross explained. "I'm the chairman of the boys, committee.
Oh. Ashley's heart sank for an instant.He only wants to talk about the Student U, she thought. Not about the dance. Maybe he hasn't thought about it yet.
But then she realized that if he was chairman of the boys' committee, they'd be working together full time for the next two weeks!
"Let's check this place out," Ross said, marching through the crowded storage building. He headed toward some smaller rooms at the back. Ashley followed him.
"This is just a closet," Ross said. He opened a door and closed it again.
"We can store decorations for the dances in there," Ashley said."Yeah, or build a shelf and use it for all the video games," Ross suggested.
Then he ducked into the back room. It was small and private. "This will be great for a game room," Ross said.
"Or a cozy little lounge," Ashley suggested. "Can't you just picture it? Sofas, low tables, stuffed chairs. Like a coffee bar, but without the espresso machine. And maybe we could put one of the TVs in here."
Ross frowned. "Whatever," he said as he slid past her, back into the main room.
Hey, it was just an idea! Ashley thought, following him.
Ross pushed past the pile ofkept her arms held tightly at her sides. She was on mouse alert.
At the other end of the building, they found another small room. Boxes were piled up in front of a door leading outside.
Ross glanced at her.