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www.zonderkidz.comSophie Flakes OutCopyright 2005 by Nancy RueThis is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are products of the author'simagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons,living or dead, is entirely coincidental.Requests for information should be addressed to:Zonderkidz, 5300 Patterson Ave. SEGrand Rapids, Michigan 49530ISBN-10: 0-310-71024-3ISBN-13: 978-0-310-71024-3All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,or transmitted in any form or by any means---electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or anyother---except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.Zonderkidz is a trademark of Zondervan.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication application has been made.Published in association with the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 GoddardStreet, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.Photography: Synergy Photographic/Brad LampeIllustrations: Grace Chen Design and IllustrationArt direction: Merit AlderinkInterior design: Susan AmbsPrinted in the United States of America05 06 07 08 09/DCI/5 4 3 2 11'Dad-dy!' 'So-phie!' Sophie LaCroix closed her brown eyes behind her glasses so shewouldn't narrow them at her father or, worse, roll them at him. Daddydidn't like eye-rolling.'Look, Soph,' Daddy said. 'I can't break it down for you anyfurther. The answer is no. End of discussion.'Sophie wailed anyway, pipsqueak voice rising to the kitchen ceiling.'I'll be the only one in the whole entire schoolwho doesn't get to see the movie.'Daddy squinted at her as he shruggedinto his black NASA jacket. He didn'tlike whining either. 'I'm sure there areother parents who don't want theirtwelve-year-olds seeing a PG--13 movieabout gangs.''It's a documentary!' Sophie said.'It's about real life.'8Daddy's dark eyebrows shot up. 'That makes it okay?' He pickedup his laptop case and ran his other hand down the back of his spikyhair. 'Drive-by shootings and foul language are not a part of yourreal life, and I'd like to keep it that way.''What do I tell Mrs. Clayton and Ms. Hess?''Tell them I'll be calling your principal with a full explanation.'When Sophie opened her mouth, Daddy closed it with a blacklook. He didn't like arguing more than he didn't like anything.He's calling Mr. Bentley? Sophie thought as she hoisted herbackpack over her shoulder. That is the most humiliating thingI can think of.It was probably worse than humiliating. She'd have to askher best friend Fiona Bunting, the walking dictionary, for aword to describe feeling like a kindergartner in a seventh-gradebody.'Don't forget, it's your day to watch Zeke after school,' Daddysaid from the doorway. 'Walk you to the bus stop, Baby Girl?'How about NO! Sophie wanted to shriek. But she didn't evenwant to find out how much Daddy didn't like shrieking.As she trudged to the corner, Sophie felt as if she had a chain attachedto her ankle, and for somebody as small twelve-year-old as she was, thatwas not a good thing. She could almost imagine it clanking on the sidewalk.But, then, she could imagine almost anything.But I don't have to imagine how heinous this situation is! she toldherself. It wasn't just having to babysit her six-year-old brother whileher mom, who was going to have LaCroix Kid Number Four in a fewmonths, cooked dinner. Zeke wasn't even that bad since he'd figuredout New Baby Girl wasn't going to wipe out life as he knew it. Andit wasn't just that Daddy wouldn't let her go to the movie thateverybody in the entire school was seeing that day---except her.It's just all of it, Sophie thought.9She climbed aboard the bus and slumped into her usual seat behindHarley and Gill, the two soccer-playing girls Sophie and her friends(the Corn Flakes) referred to as the Wheaties.'Hi, you guys,' she said.But they only nodded at her vaguely. Their eyes were glued tothe other side of the bus, a few rows back.'Dude,' Gill said, her green eyes wide. 'Cell phones?' Sheshook her head so that two lanky tendrils of reddish hair fell outfrom under her wool billed cap.As usual, husky Harley just grunted.Sophie swiveled around to catch sight of two girls sitting onthe reserved-for-eighth-graders-only side. The very blonde onewith even blonder highlights had a phone pressed to her ear, andher striking blue eyes were dancing a reply to the person on theother end. She pulled her hair up in a handful and let it fall like afountain of blondeness to her shoulders as she laughed.'It's only eight o'clock in the morning,' Sophie whispered. 'Whocould she be talking to?''Probably the girl next to her,' Gill said.The talker's seatmate was a slender girl with a wispy cut to herhoney brown hair that made her look like a stylish elf. Her lips weremoving, but she seemed to be chatting to nobody.'Where's her phone?' Sophie said to Gill.'In her ear,' Gill said. 'See the wire coming down?'Just then the girl glanced their way, and Gill and Harley turned intheir seats like they were about to be shot. But although there was anunspoken rule that seventh graders didn't stare at eighth graders, justlike they didn't even venture into the eighth-grade halls, Sophiecouldn't pull her eyes from the girl's golden brown ones as sheraised her teen-magazine eyebrows at Sophie. Even though they'dbeen riding the same bus for three months, it was the first time10she seemed to notice Sophie. Being seen by a girl who looked sotogether was like being under a spell.The girl spread out her palms as if to say, 'Well?''Sorry,' Sophie said. She shriveled back into her seventh-gradeworld.'I can't believe they're taking cell phones to school,' Gillwhispered over the back of the seat.'I'll never even own one 'til I'm out of college or something,'Sophie whispered back. Even her fourteen-year-old sister, Lacie,didn't have one, and she was in high school.Sophie scooted closer to the bus window and gazed out throughher glasses as Poquoson, Virginia, went by in a November mist.I'll never even get a phone in my room, she thought. My conversationswith my friends might as well be on the six o'clock news.Not to mention the whole rest of her life. In less than an hour,everybody in her section at school would know that her parentsdidn't think she could handle a PG--13 movie.They're way overprotective, Sophie thought. And then shesquirmed a little. Back in October, when Mama and Daddy had cometo the school to stand up for her, she had liked them being her guardianangels. But this was way different, she decided. And way confusing.She ran her hand over the top of her very-short-but-shiny lightbrown hair like she always did when she was confused, and she closedher eyes. Time to imagine Jesus. And of course, there he was, with hiskind eyes, waiting for her questions.Okay, so what is WITH Mama and Daddy lately? she murmuredto him in her mind. The baby that hasn't even been born yet has moreprivacy than I do!Sophie opened her eyes and squirmed some more. It didn't feelexactly right to be complaining to Jesus about her parents. Therewas that whole 'honor your father and mother' thing to consider.She was still pondering it when she got to her locker. Most of theother Corn Flakes were waiting for her. That was the name they'dgiven themselves when the Corn Pops, the wickedly popular girls,had said they were 'flakes.' To the Corn Flakes, that meant theywere free to be themselves and never put down other people theway the Corn Pops did.