Premiere (On the Runway Series #1)by Melody Carlson
Book one in the new dynamic fashion-themed On the Runway teen novel series by favorite young adult fiction author Melody Carlson. When Paige and Erin Forrester are offered their own TV show, sisterly bonds are tested as the girls learn that it takes two to keep their once-in-a-lifetime project afloat.See more details below
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Book one in the new dynamic fashion-themed On the Runway teen novel series by favorite young adult fiction author Melody Carlson. When Paige and Erin Forrester are offered their own TV show, sisterly bonds are tested as the girls learn that it takes two to keep their once-in-a-lifetime project afloat.
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PremiereOn the Runway
By Melody Carlson
ZondervanCopyright © 2010 Melody Carlson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHere we are at wonderful Wonderland." Paige doesn't even blink as she flashes a bright smile at the camera crew before launching into a clever monologue about the local theme park and its recent improvements. I'm sure I'm one of the few present who knows her real opinion on this mediocre park. "This is so last century," she told our mom earlier today. But now she is all sunshine as she espouses the park's many "wonders."
Meanwhile, a small crowd gathers around her, looking on with interest like she's a celebrity. They're chatting amongst themselves and nodding toward her like they're trying to figure out just who she is. But the problem is she's not anybody. Well, she's my sister. And, in her own eyes, she's a soon-to-be-discovered star. But then who isn't down here in La la land, CA, where it seems half the girls I know have a bad case of celebrity-itis? They either want to be famous themselves or connected to someone who already is famous.
I would never admit this to Paige, but she's got the look of a star. Not to mention the attitude. Plus, she knows how to dress. And it doesn't hurt that she's got peaches and cream skin, straight white teeth, clear blue eyes, and nearly natural blonde hair that despite being long always looks perfect. Not unlike her old Barbie doll. Some people have compared Paige's looks to Cameron Diaz, but in all fairness, Paige might even be prettier. Not that you'll hear those words coming from my mouth anytime soon. And certainly not while Paige is within hearing distance. I love my sister, but that girl's head is big enough already.
Anyway, as usual, I am hiding behind my video camera, acting as if I'm a member the Channel Five camera crew, although I'm fully aware that this is live coverage and my shots will not be used. Still, it's good practice as well as my best excuse to remain behind the scenes-or in other words, in my comfort zone. Not only that, but my camera helps to cover the conspicuous pimple that's threatening to erupt on my forehead today. Okay, so I am a little self-conscious and a bit insecure when it comes to my looks. But who wouldn't be with someone like Paige for a sister?
As I zoom in on Paige's picture-perfect face, I notice that the wind has blown a silky strand of hair across her highly glossed lips, and it sticks there like a fly on flypaper. She casually peels the strand off and continues to rattle on about the park's new and improved amenities, like it's no big deal.
"It's the twenty-fifth anniversary here at Wonderland." She addresses the camera. "And crowds have gathered here today to celebrate the reopening of the recently renovated theme park. More than two million dollars were spent bringing the park back to its former glory and, as you can see, everything looks clean and new and idyllic."
I try not to be overly wowed with my sister's natural gift for gab, but sometimes the girl totally floors me. How does she do it? still, I never let on that I'm impressed. By the same token, I never let on that I'm intimidated. Not even by her looks. It's not that I'm a dog. My friends all assure me that I'm relatively attractive. But, hey, they're my friends. What else are they going to say?
The cameras continue to roll and Paige rambles on, and she's starting to get this look in her eye, almost like she's become bored with her subject matter. Not that I blame her. I mean, there's only so much you can say about a second-rate theme park, no matter how much money they throw at it.
Fortunately for Paige, my mom is signaling for her to wrap it up by slashing her hand across her throat and mouthing "cut." And Paige, used to this routine, makes her graceful exit. "And now back to the anchor desk at Channel Five news."
"That was good," Mom tells her, but her eyes are on the monitor and I can tell by her expression that she's listening to her headset, probably taking direction from someone back at the station. She nods and says, "Okay. Sure, no problem, we can do that." Then she turns back to the camera crew. "They want us to get a few more minutes of airtime-they decided to cut the trucker story. So we'll be back on in fifteen. Everybody hang tight."
"What more can I say about Wonderland?" Paige demands, letting out a sigh that sounds like she just ran a five-minute mile. Sometimes my sister can be a real prima donna.
"I don't know," Mom says absently. She's still listening to her headset as if there's another big story she should be going after. "Just ad lib, okay?"
"How about if we go shoot near the entrance," suggests Sam Holliday. Sam's the head cameraman and a very nice guy, as well as the first person to let me handle a real camera.
Mom nods. "Good idea. Maybe we can get some of the park's guests to say a few words and give Paige a break." Now mom points to me. "Or perhaps Erin can take a turn being on camera."
This is all it takes to make my sister stand up and take notice. And I know her well enough to see that she is not ready to share the limelight with anyone-especially me. And this, I must admit, is a relief.
"I'll interview some guests." Paige takes the second mike and we head over to the entrance area. We're barely set up when mom gives Paige the signal to start. Then mom heads off to use her cell phone.
"Here we are again for the big reopening of Wonderland," Paige says with another brilliant smile. "As you can see the people are pouring into the theme park this afternoon." An overstatement since there are about six people trickling in at the moment. "And here's a fresh idea-since the Golden Globes are next month, let's pretend like this is the red carpet and we are on fashion watch."
Then with mike in hand, Paige approaches a couple of unsuspecting teenage girls. They look a bit wary as to whether they want to be on TV or not, but my sister quickly disarms them by smiling and saying, "Welcome to Wonderland, girls. Is this your first time here?"
One girl nods without speaking, but the other girl is a little braver. "Yeah. We decided to come since it was half price today."
"And did you get those Capri pants for half price as well?" asks Paige. Well, I almost drop my camera, except that I'm curious to record the girl's reaction and I have to admit the baggy, white cropped pants were a bad choice. Not only do they make her butt look big, but there's a spill stain on one knee.
The girl looks shocked, but her friend just nudges her with an elbow, then giggles. "Yeah," the friend tells Paige, "she did get them on sale. How'd you know that?"
Paige smiles slyly. "Oh, it's a gift. So how would you describe your fashion style today?" she asks the half-price girl who seems to be speechless. "Campy casual or theme park comfort or thrift shop chic?"
"Uh, I guess it's theme park comfort," the girl mutters.
"Well, comfort is important," says Paige, turning to the other girl. "And how about you?" she asks. The girl frowns down at her black T-shirt. It's well worn with a faded white skull on the front. "Sort of revisited Goth perhaps?"
I wince inwardly but keep my camera focused and running. In a twisted way this is actually kind of good.
The girl shrugs. "Yeah ... it's an old shirt."
"And it's just adorable on you," says Paige, "and it reminds me of the good old days." She's smiling back at the camera now and totally ignoring our mom, who is off the phone now, but freaking out as she sends all kinds of throat slashing "cut-cut-cut" signals Paige's direction, although no one is paying attention. I actually think the camera crew is enjoying Paige's little spectacle-or else they're too shocked to shut it down.
"And I'll be the first one to admit that fashion is subjective," Paige continues. "After all, this is only a theme park. But on the other hand, you just never know who you might bump into." She laughs then turns back to the camera. "As you can all see everyone is having a fabulous time at Wonderland today. They've put on their very best togs and are parading about for the world to enjoy."
Then Paige continues to describe outfits, turning what was supposed to be theme park coverage into a great big What Not to Wear spot. And by the time the camera crew finally does shut down after five long minutes of Paige's merciless attacks, Mom's face is getting those weird red blotches-not a good sign.
"Paige Forrester!" mom seethes. "What on earth do you think you were doing?"
"Ad libbing," Paige says lightly.
Sam chuckles as he pats mom on the back. "Don't worry, Brynn," he tells her, "who really watches the five o'clock news anyway?"
Mom turns and actually glares at him now. "Well, have no doubts that this piece will be cut out of the six o-" But she cuts herself off to listen to her headset again. Now she's grimacing as if someone back at the station is speaking way too loudly. Make that yelling, because I can hear him fairly well and it sounds a lot like her boss, Max. And the words he's using would not be acceptable on the air.
"You probably got mom fired," I whisper to Paige.
Her brows crease slightly. "No, you don't really think-"
"I didn't put her up to anything," Mom says loudly. "Listen, max, I-" But she's interrupted again and we can all hear him shouting.
I fold my camera closed and shake my head at Paige. "See what you did?"
Paige nods without speaking and her eyes look worried. For some reason this makes me feel a tiny bit better about my sister's sensibility, or rather lack of it. Still, I'm wondering what we would really do if Mom lost her job. It's only been three years since Dad died and our world was turned upside down. Since that time, Mom has worked long and hard to gain respect at the station-enough respect to land her this producing job about six months ago. And despite her hard work, there are still some Channel Five employees who think she got her promotion out of pity ... simply because her husband (our dad), Dan Forrester, the beloved anchor on the Channel Five news for more than a decade, had been tragically killed in a plane wreck. To think that Paige could've messed this all up in just a few minutes is seriously disturbing.
Chapter TwoDo you have any idea what kind of a position you've placed me in?" Mom asks Paige as we're leaving the theme park.
"I was just joking around, Mom." Paige is using her "little girl" voice now-it used to work on our dad, but mom's a lot savvier.
"You do not joke around with the news."
"But I remember Dad used to joke-"
"Your father earned the right to make a few well-timed and lighthearted comments." Mom's voice is growing sharper. "Not that he would have abused that right by treating people the way you did just now, Paige Marie."
We've reached our vehicles and the guys are quietly loading their equipment into the news van, probably trying to lay low as Mom and Paige continue their public family squabble. Good thing the cameras aren't rolling now.
"I trusted you to act professionally, Paige." mom's voice remains angry. "And you let me down. You have actually placed my job in jeopardy. Do you understand that?"
Excerpted from Premiere by Melody Carlson Copyright © 2010 by Melody Carlson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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