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The Clique #12: These Boots Are Made for Stalking
By Harrison, Lisi
PoppyCopyright © 2010 Harrison, Lisi
All right reserved.
THE MARVIL ESTATE
MERRI-LEE MARVIL’S CLOSET
Thursday, October 30th
“Rate my costume,” Massie Block demanded, spinning around in a circle so the Pretty Committee could see her black silk Theory jumpsuit and red patent-leather Brian Atwood pumps from every angle. Hands on hips, she ran her tongue over her fang-enhanced smile and dared her friends to give her anything less than a 9.2.
Alicia Rivera and Dylan Marvil conferred like they were front-row fashion critics and Merri-Lee Marvil’s two-story walk-in closet was the main tent at Bryant Park. Dylan’s mom had given the girls permission to accessorize their Halloween costumes with anything from her closet that had passed the BEST IF WORN BY tags dangling from their hangers.
Claire Lyons flashed a pointy-eye-toothed grin. “Nine-point-eight!”
“Heart it.” Alicia applauded.
“To die for.” Kristen Gregory grabbed a lacy camisole that hung from the crystal wall sconce like a cobweb.
“Suuuuuuuck iiiiit, Bellllaaaaahhhh,” Dylan burped, reaching for another chewy ghost PEEP.
Without warning, an electric shiver shimmied down Massie’s spine. Maybe it was the sting of her new lip-plumping Glossip Girl Bite Me Berry stain. Maybe it was the eerie flicker of the Belle Fleur Cacao Tabaq soy candles Dylan had lit to get her friends in the Halloween spirit. Or maybe it was the thrill of knowing that the Pretty Committee was back together and tighter than Massie’s abs after a two-hour Zumba-thon.
Alicia lifted her palm and Massie leaned down to victory-five it. When their palms met, waves of understanding flowed between them. Without saying a word, it was clear that Alicia would never try to be the alpha of her own clique again, like she’d done with the Soul-M8s, her failed boy-girl clique. And Massie would try to be a little less Bumble & Bumble super-hold hairspray and a little more Frederic Fekkai flexible hold.
“Are you sure Landon won’t think it’s juvenile?” Massie asked, adjusting her black lace gloves. Now that she had an ah-dorable, fashion-savvy ninth-grade crush, the margin for fashion error was slimmer than a pair of J Brand Skinny jeans.
“Did you ask him to go trick-or-treating yet?” Kristen pushed herself to her feet, then teetered to the far wall in platform Jimmy Choos to riffle through the hanging clothes. Polaroids of Merri-Lee wearing the outfits hung from the hangers, expiration dates inked in red.
“Not officially,” Massie admitted. “But we’ve been texting about hanging out tomorrow night. He’s probably just waiting for me to let him know the plan.” She nibbled her bottom lip, wishing she could sneak a quick text check.
“Josh’s been tweeting all week about how pumped he is to see me in my costume.” Alicia reached for a blood orange slice and popped it in her mouth.
“Derrington’s definitely coming,” Dylan announced, pretending to examine her flat-ironed red locks for split ends.
“Good.” Massie flashed a reassuring smile, to prove she was fine with Dylan and Kristen crushing on her exes. So getting two of her crushes stolen had left her with more trust issues than the U.S. Treasury. But thanks to her new subliminal confidence-building CD, Surviving Male Betrayal, she was guaranteed to lose those issues faster than Nicole Richie shed her baby weight. Or else Oprah and her book club would have some serious explaining to do.
Just then, a deep, evil laugh boomed from the intercom. “MUUUUUUUUAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHAAAAAAAAA.”
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” the whole PC screamed. Claire panic-flung a gummy foot across the room. Dylan grabbed the top off a Prada shoe box and held it in front of her like a shield. And Bean, Massie’s black pug, leapt off a bed of Hermès silk scarves and made a beeline for Massie, her red silk cape fluttering behind her like she was an ah-dorable superhero.
“Bean!” Massie swooped down to rescue her puppy. Bean’s custom white fangs tipped with OPI’s Vampire State Building polish chattered in fear.
Seconds later, Layne Abeley appeared in the arched double doorway in a GHOULS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN T-shirt and neon orange skinny jeans.
“Ehmagawd, Layne!” Massie said, her heart racing in her chest. “You almost gave Bean a heart attack!”
“Sorrrrrry.” Layne plopped down next to Claire like she belonged there.
The PC insta-grabbed their phones.
Dylan: K, did u invite Layne?
Kristen: Nope. U?
Alicia: The shirt sucks.
Dylan: And the pants bite.
Massie: Outfit should b 6 ft under.
Dylan: Wonder if C invited her?
Massie: Probs. Just ignore her.
Massie took a giant gulp of her Draculatte to wash down the guilt lump starting to form in her throat. The truth was that when Layne had complained in second-period French about not having a costume, Massie had mentioned where the PC would be after school. Which meant she’d semi-invited the LBR. But she hadn’t really had a choice. When Dylan and Kristen had stolen ex-Derrington and ex-Dempsey, Layne had produced her brother Chris Abeley’s ninth-grade friends. Including Landon Crane.
But most important, when Massie had been forced to hire actors for her new clique to make the old one jealous, Layne hadn’t told a soul (or a Soul-M8).
“What’re you guys supposed to be anyway?” Layne piped up, double-knotting the green glitter laces on her black Converse sneakers.
Dylan rolled her eyes. “We’re going as trampires.”
“Huh?” Layne’s under-plucked brows inched toward each other as she helped herself to the tray of bite-size brownies, blood oranges, and dark chocolate–covered popcorn.
“Trampires,” Alicia repeated, tightening the silver braided belt she wore over a strapless slate gray Alexander Wang dress. “Hawt vampires.” She’d ripped holes in a pair of Merri-Lee’s DKNY fishnets and painted tiny bite marks on her leg with a scarlet YSL lip liner. “Genius, right? Massie thought of it.”
Dylan smile-thanked Massie for the idea before yanking down the hem of her black Cosabella slip.
Massie beamed You’re welcome. This year, every girl in eighth was either dressing up like Bella Swan or one of the Cullen girls, which meant the vampire trend was deader than dead. So she’d added an alpha twist.
“I get the tramp part.” Layne inspected Claire’s lace-trimmed burgundy slip. “But what’s the ‘pire’ part?”
“We’re not spray-tanning this year,” Massie explained. “So we’ll be super-pale.”
“Come on, Layne,” Claire said. “Let’s go find you a costume.” She pushed herself to her feet, then gripped Layne’s hands and pulled her up too.
“Okay. But nothing trampy.” She followed Claire up the spiral staircase to the second floor.
“Style-sucker,” Alicia called after them. Her dark hair looked glossier than usual in the candlelight.
“Ah-greed,” Massie giggled, settling on the floor next to Kristen. Being back together with her friends felt better than one of Jakkob’s post-highlight scalp massages. She pinky-swore to herself that she would never let crush issues crush the Pretty Committee again.
Massie’s iPhone buzzed again.
Landon: Is Bean up 4 a date w/Bark 2morrow nite?
“Ehmacrush!” Massie giggle-beamed at her iPhone. She pulled Bean into her lap, fingering the silver charms that hung from the pug’s purple silk charm collar. The collar had been a gift from Landon and his pug, Bark Obama. Bean refused to go anywhere without it.
Kristen and Alicia dove toward Massie’s cell.
“Whasshesay?” Dylan wobbled across the closet and crouched behind Massie.
“You’re so gonna lip-kiss tomorrow night,” Alicia predicted.
“Prah-bly,” Massie said coyly, even though the thought of lip-kissing an older man made her gloss sweat.
Bean jumped from Massie’s lap and scampered in hyper circles around the girls, her tiny pink tongue flapping in the cacao-scented air.
“Hey!” Layne bellowed, bending over the railing above. She was wearing a long red silk bathrobe. “I’m Little Dead Riding Hood!” Claire was drawing bloody gashes on Layne’s face with a cheap Wet N Wild lip liner.
Massie held up a hand, silencing the chatter, then fired back a reply.
Massie: Paws-ibly. Bring Bark by my house at 7:45. Trick-or-treating starts at 8.
Landon: Can’t. Movie scare-a-thon @ a friend’s. Wanna join?
“He wants me to hang out with his friends,” Massie said slowly. Her Draculatte swirled violently in her stomach.
Dylan’s dark chocolate–stained lips melted into a thin, pursed line. “What’re you gonna do?”
Bean stopped mid-circle and rapid-blinked at Massie.
Alicia and Kristen leaned forward slightly, begging her with wide eyes not to ditch them for her crush. Bean pleaded to see Bark, her black eyes round and moist with hope. “Bark!” she yapped, in case Massie didn’t get the point.
Massie reached for her latte, stalling for time. On the one hand, the thought of Landon not seeing her in her trampire costume made her blood run cold. On the other hand, hadn’t she just pinky-sworn to herself that she would never let a crush crush the Pretty Committee?
The drops of red food coloring staining the frothy white latte foam in her cup caught Massie’s eye, reminding her that she and the PC weren’t just friends. They were like blood-sisters. And blood-sisters didn’t desert their friends for boys. Not even if those boys were fashion-loving, pug-owning, ninth-grade-attending hawties.
She swallowed. “I’m obviously going trick-or-treating,” she said definitively, as if she’d never considered another option.
Dylan, Kristen, and Alicia breathed a sigh of relief, then fanned out to complete their costumes. Bean sulk-yapped, collapsing on the floor in defeat.
Before Massie could change her mind, she texted Landon.
Massie: Can’t. Trick-or-treating w/the girls. Bean = .
Massie felt like someone was stiletto-stabbing her in the heart, then filling the hole with a million insecurities. She re-glossed quickly, to seal them in.
Bean lifted her head hopefully at the sound of Massie’s buzzing phone.
Landon: Wanna bring Bean 2 the scare-a-thon? At least the puppies can hang. I’ll chaperone.
Massie paused. She’d never let Bean out of her sight for an entire night before. But then again…
“Bean!” she said. “Want me to drop you off at Bark’s tomorrow?”
Bean leapt up and barreled full-force into Massie’s lap, her charm collar jangling happily.
Massie giggled, breathing in the warm scent of her puppy’s customized vanilla bean shampoo. At least if Massie couldn’t be with her crush on Halloween, Bean could be with hers. And if dropping Bean off at Landon’s led to a) Landon witnessing Massie looking ah-mazing in her trampire costume, b) Landon ditching his friends in favor of trick-or-treating with the PC, or c) Landon vowing never to leave Massie’s side again, then so be it.
Besides, there were other perks. Massie scratched underneath Bean’s collar, pinching the tiny silver dog-bone charm between her index finger and thumb. The charm was a SnoopDawg; it had a tiny camera inside that sent a video feed to the SnoopDawg Web site so pet owners could monitor their pets 24/7. All Massie had to do was activate the charm and check the site from her iPhone tomorrow night, and she could watch Bean’s every move.
Massie giggle-grinned to herself, feeling her insecurities retreat. It was the perfect way to keep an eye on her new crush. She knew it was sneaky, but who cared? She’d promised to work on her trust issues. And she would.
Excerpted from The Clique #12: These Boots Are Made for Stalking by Harrison, Lisi Copyright © 2010 by Harrison, Lisi. Excerpted by permission.
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