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"Ashley, you won't believe it! I have the most amazing news!" Jennifer Dilber called.
Ashley Burke whirled around to see her friend Jennifer rushing down the hall toward her. The last bell had just rung, and school was over. Ashley and her twin sister, Mary-Kate, were putting their books in their lockers.
"What?" Ashley asked, suddenly excited. Jennifer's eyes were growing wider every second.
It must be something big, Ashley thought.
"The Fashion Van is coming to our school!" Jennifer announced. "Isn't that absolutely fabulous? It's like they know I'm here!"
"What's a fashion van?" Mary-Kate asked.
Jennifer tossed her blond hair over her shoulders. She looked down her nose at Mary-Kate.
"Something you obviously don't know anything about," she said with a snooty smile.
"It's the guys from Real Teen magazine," Ashley explained to her sister. "They travel around to different schools and choose kids to appear in Real Teen magazine each month."
"Next week they'll be at our school to pick three girls. And they're going to choose me!" Jennifer squealed.
"Why do you think they're going to choose you?" Mary-Kate asked.
"Because they want only the most fashionable girls," Jennifer explained.
"Right." Mary-Kate nodded, "My point exactly. So what makes you think you've got a shot?"
Ashley glared at her sister. Why does Mary-Kate always have to tease Jennifer? she wondered. Just because Jennifer and I are into clothes, boys, and shoppingand she's not?
"What's her problem?" Jennifer snapped.
"Ignore her," Ashley told Jennifer. "My sister doesn't get Real Teenmagazine. It doesn't come with a football T-shirt!"
"Very funny," Mary-Kate muttered.
"Isn't it perfect timing?" Jennifer went on. "Just when we were thinking about going to that Horizon School of Modeling."
"I know," Ashley agreed. "It's like fate!"
"But if you want to go to the model tryouts," Jennifer said, getting back to the main subject, 'you've got to get a permission slip and have it signed by a parent. The slips are on the desk outside the main office."
"Come on," Ashley said, pulling her sister away. "I need one of those slips. And then we've got to get homefast. This just might be the most important day of my life!"
"How do I look?" Ashley asked later that afternoon. She held her head up high and strutted through the front door as if she were walking on a model's runway.
Mary-Kate sighed and rolled her eyes. She threw her backpack on the couch.
Carrie, their young, hip baby-sitter, glanced up from the book she was studying at the dining table. She was a student at the college where the twins' father taught. Kevin Burke had hired Carrie to spend time with the girls while he was working. Ever since the twins' mother died three years ago, he had needed someone to watch the girls after school.
"You look ... fabulous?" Carrie guessed.
"I know!" Ashley beamed. She pushed her blond hair out of her face. "Watch this."
Ashley dropped her backpack next to Mary-Kate's and began practicing her modeling walk. She stuck one hand on her hip and strolled back and forth across the room.
"What's up?" Carrie asked. "Something tells me you aren't doing that just for the exercise."
Ashley rushed over and grabbed Carrie's arm.
"The Fashion Van is coming to our school!" she said excitedly. "I've been waiting for this my whole life! Can you believe it? I'm going to be a model!"
"Really?" Carrie asked. "That's great, Ashley! Oh, maybe that's what Jennifer wanted to talk to you about. She just called. She said to call her back right away-it's important."
I just saw her half an hour ago, Ashley thought. What could she want to talk about?
She grabbed a slice of apple from a plate on the dining table and took a bite. Then she hurried over to the phone.
While Ashley dialed Jennifer's number, Mary-Kate sat down at the table with Carrie. She opened
her school notebook and began writing.
That's weird, Ashley thought. Why was Mary-Kate doing homework the minute they got home from school? She never touched her notebooks until she absolutely had to.
The phone rang three times. Finally Jennifer answered.
"Jennifer? You called?" Ashley asked, munching the apple as she talked.
"I've got some important news," Jennifer said.
First, I called the Horizon School of Modeling. They have an introductory session tomorrow after school-and there's still room in the class. I signed us up!"
"Cool," Ashley murmured.
"And then," Jennifer went on, lowering her voice, "you won't believe what I heard on the bus on the way home."
"What?" Ashley asked, taking another bite of apple.
"Your sister likes a boy!" Jennifer announced. "She's got a thing for Jeremy Ryan!"
Ashley's eyes popped wide open.
"No!" she cried, almost spitting out the apple. "How do you know? Who told you?"
"Angela saw Mary-Kate staring at him in class," Jennifer explained. "And when Miss Tabor called on Mary-Kate to answer a question, she didn't even hear her name being called! She couldn't take her eyes off theback of Jeremy's head."