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Sienna and I are sitting cross-legged on my lavender bedspread while our parents are downstairs having after-dinner drinks. My mom cooked a special meal to celebrate Sienna's mom, Sunny, winning Sifton Realty's salesperson of the year award. As soon as we'd finished our beef bourguignon and roasted potatoes, we absconded to the privacy of my bedroom. I'd wanted to hang around for the raspberry cheesecake, but Sienna doesn't really do dessert.
"So," I say to my best friend, who is staring at the tips of her French manicure, "do you want to work on our designs?"
Sienna and 1 are going to become fashion designers when we finish high school. We're going to move to New York, where she'll attend Parsons School of Design (she has a flair for fashion) and I'll go to the School of Visual Arts (I have natural artistic ability). We'll share a small apartment until we get our degrees, then we'll move into some enormous loft space in Nolita and launch our empire.
Sienna shrugs. "I'm not really in a very fashion design-y mood."
"...Okay. Do you want to look at some of the designs I did for our label instead?" We'd spent many hours trying to find the right name for our business. Since we are about to become the next Dolce & Gabbana (except, obviously, we're not gay Italian ex-lovers), I'd suggested Harrison & Marshall. But we'd both agreed it didn't have much cachet. My next idea was a combination of our first names: Louise and Sienna--LouSi. I still think this is kind of clever, but Sienna prefers Sienna Lou. She thinks it has a sort of Daisy Duke appeal.
I kneel on my off-white carpet and extract the large sketch pad I keep hidden under my bed. It's not that I'm ashamed of my drawings; I'm actually quite proud of the work Sienna and I have done. It's just that we've decided to keep our fashion empire plans from our parents and classmates so it will have more impact when we make it big in New York. I also don't want my younger brother, Troy, to find them. He'll totally make fun of our designs, and I don't need him messing with my fragile artist's ego.
Flipping through the sketch pad, I stop at a brightly colored page. "These are the Sienna Lou designs," I explain, handing the pad over. "And I threw in a few LouSi's...just for fun, I guess."
Sienna glances briefly at the curlicues of the first logos, her eyes flitting over the more angular, modern versions. There is an unmistakable expression of indifference on her lightly tanned, flawless face. She pulls her blue eyes away and looks at me.
"What do you think of Dean Campbell?"
The question is somewhat jarring. I mean, we're talking about our label here--our life's passion, our calling, our
future! With some effort, I mentally conjure the swarthy, weather-beaten face of Dean Campbell. What do I think of him? The short answer is: I don't. Dean Campbell is old. I'm not sure how old, but his dark stubble gives the impression he could grow a full Santa Claus-style beard if he wanted to. I also have a feeling that the Von Dutch trucker hat he always wears is hiding a receding hairline.
"Why?" I ask, troubled by Sienna's interest in him.
She shrugs. "I don't know. I saw him at McDonald's last night and we kind of had a...thing."
"Like a look. You know...a moment."
Ewww! I don't say this out loud, however. Instead, I say, "Isn't he going out with Tracey Morreau?"
Sienna shrugs again. "I hear they're having problems."
"How old is he?" I ask as nonchalantly as possible. I don't want to sound childish. Despite the fact that Sienna and I are both sixteen, she seems at least a couple of years older. This is probably because she's had a body like Pamela Anderson's since she was about twelve. I've recently developed smallish breasts, but let's face it: no one is going to be hiring me to jog in slow motion in a bathing suit any time soon.
Sienna says, "I think he's, like, twenty-four or something."
"God! That's practically thirty!" Oops. My cool facade has slipped. I try to cover. "That's like...just a little bit old for you, don't you think?"
My best friend rolls her eyes. "Tracey Morreau's only seventeen and she's going out with him."
"Yeah, and Tracey Morreau is a total skank!"
Sienna laughs. "True. But there's something kind of exciting
about an older guy, don'tcha think?"
"I guess," I say, completely unconvinced. Though Sienna and I have both spent our entire lives in the suburban community of Langley, she seems to have a maturity and sophistication I lack. This could be because of her enormous boobs--or maybe it's my mother's dictatorial supervision of my television and movie viewing? Whatever the reason, I guess I'm still too juvenile to see the appeal of a guy who is already going bald.
Suddenly, my bedroom door bursts open and I quickly flip my sketch pad over to conceal our logo designs. Troy is standing in the doorway with Sienna's kid brother, Brody, slightly behind his stick-thin form. Troy addresses Sienna. "Your parents are leaving."
"'Kay," she says, staring at her manicure.
"Okay!" I yell as my fourteen-year-old brother lingers in the entryway. "We heard you. Good-bye!" It's revolting how Troy takes any opportunity he can get to ogle Sienna.
Troy's eyes narrow as he glares at me. "Fat bitch," he says venomously.
"Get lost!" I shriek, hurling a tissue box at him. Troy closes the door in the nick of time. "God," I say to Sienna, "brothers are so annoying."
"Yeah." She gets off my bed. "At least my brother's practically mute."
Slowly, Sienna and I make our way downstairs to where our parents are gathered near the front door. My mom is handing plastic containers of food to Sienna's father, Keith. My dad is helping Sunny into her white rabbit-fur coat. "Just heat the meat up right in the wine sauce," my mom is instructing. "You can microwave it, but I find it tastes better if you put it on the stove and let it simmer for a while."
"Are you getting all this, Keith?" Sunny says to her husband. I can hear the gin and tonics in her voice. "You know my talents don't lie in the kitchen."
"Oh, really?" my dad asks suggestively, hands on her rabbit-covered shoulders.
"Why, Len Harrison," Sunny says, slapping at him playfully. "I had no idea you had such a dirty mind. I meant my talents lie in the office, of course. Get your mind out of the gutter!"
Sienna shoots me a look and rolls her eyes. We hate when our parents get tipsy and make these sorts of pervy comments.
"Of course...the office..." My dad plays along.
"That's a good idea." Sienna's dad gives his wife a randy wink. "We should tryout some of your talents in the office."
"Well," my mom says a little awkwardly (thankfully, she is not as depraved as the rest of them), "you don't get to be the number-one salesperson for Sifton Realty without talent."
"Why, Denise Burroughs! What are you saying?" Sunny gasps.
"Every real estate transaction I've done was based on my sales skills alone. My talents never came into it."
"They better not have!" Keith booms. All the adults are laughing now, although my mom looks kind of uncomfortable.
Sienna leans over to me. "Would you go and get me a bucket, please? I think I'm going to spew." I give her a knowing smile.
Sunny's frosted blonde head swivels in its fur collar. "Where are my kids? Sienna? Brody?"
"We're right here," Sienna snaps. "Geez!"
"Oh, there's my precious girl!" Sunny cries, planting a bright pink kiss on her daughter's cheek. Sienna makes a face.
"Okay, let's get you home," Keith says, grabbing his wife's arm. He is this huge, bearlike man, and I've always thought he and Sunny look weird together. She is just so freakishly tiny. Keith turns to my mom. "Thank you for a wonderful dinner,
Denise. And thank you for taking pity on us and giving us these leftovers."