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"Say it's not true," Ashley Burke begged her friend Wendy. "Please--tell me it's a joke. just a cruel, ugly joke. We can't be getting school uniforms!"
Wendy Linden shook her head. "It's no joke. Everyone at White Oak Academy will be wearing uniforms by the end of the month. My mom said so."
Ashley rolled her eyes and glanced at her, friends. She and her twin sister, Mary-Kate, were hanging out in the lounge of Porter House, their dorm at boarding school.
"But how can you be sure?" Elise Van Hook asked. "Maybe it's just a rumor."
Ashley remembered that Elise was new at White Oak. She didn't always have the inside scoop.
"Wendy's mom is on the board of trustees," Ashley explained. "If anyone would know, she would."
"It's not fair," Samantha Kramer said. "I just bought a whole new wardrobe for fall!"
"Me, too," Ashley agreed. "I've been waiting three weeks for it to be cold enough to wear my new ski-sweater outfit."
"'Well, you'd better wear it soon," Wendy advised. "The board of trustees is going to decide about the uniforms during Homecoming Weekend. That's only two weeks away."
"Homecoming?" Elise's eyes lit up. "Does that mean we get to have a big dance--and elect a queen?
"Not us," Mary-Kate said, shaking her head. "The girls in Fifth and Sixth Form will have the dance."
Elise looked confused. "Sixth Form? What grade is that--in plain English? I'm still not used to this system."
Ashley laughed. "I know--it takes a while, but you'll catch on. Sixth Form is like being a high school senior."
"So they get to have a dance. But what do we get?" Elise demanded.
"We get towatch helplessly while the old White Oak alums come back and invade our dorm rooms," Wendy explained.
"You're kidding!" Mary-Kate cried. "They'll be staying in our rooms?"
"No." Wendy laughed. "But they'll be prowling around the dorms and the rest of the campus all day. That's what Homecoming is all about. The alums come back, talk over old times, and tell us "how great it was when they were here."
Ashley glanced around the dorm lounge. It was a mess. The walls were only half painted. The carpeting had been ripped up. And the heavy green drapes had been pulled from the windows. They lay in a heap on the floor.
"Well, it probably was better in the old days!" Ashley joked. "This place is a disaster zone."
"Yeah, that's why they're redecorating," Wendy explained. "Everything has to look spiffy by the time the Homecoming crowd arrives."
Ashley stared out the window at the beautiful orange and gold fall leaves that covered the lawn. It was the middle of October in New Hampshire. Ivy climbed the walls of the dorms across the way.
She and Mary-Kate were completely happy at boarding school now. Sure, they missed Chicago sometimes. That's where they had grown up-and where their dad still lived.
But White Oak Academy was the best!
I love it here, Ashley thought. But not if we have to wear uniforms!
"I thought White Oak was totally into traditions," Ashley said. "'Why would they suddenly, decide to change things and make us wear uniforms in the middle of the school year?"
"I'm not sure," Wendy answered. "But my mom said it had something to do with a lot of girls wearing really outrageous clothes and make-up to class. And glitter," she added.
"Oops." Elise Van Hook covered her mouth and glanced at Ashley. "You mean it's all our fault?"
"Your fault," Ashley corrected her.
"Whatever," Elise said. "I wish I'd never started that stupid club, anyway."
Me, too, Ashley thought.
Elise had started a secret club a few weeks ago right after she arrived at school. It was called the Glitter Girls. All the club members had to wear different colored glitter every day.
Ashley and Mary-Kate had practically dumped all their old friends to join. That was before they decided the club wasn't a good idea after all.
Luckily, everyone had forgiven them!
'I wonder what color glitter will go with the new uniforms?" Samantha asked.
"Don't, even go there!" Ashley said. "We're done with glitter. Forever."
"Well, it's not fair," Phoebe Cahill declared. "We have a right to wear what we want. It's a form of personal expression."
Phoebe was Ashley's roommate. She always wore vintage clothes--the older and more unusual, the better she liked them.
"So you're against uniforms--unless we get vintage ones, right?" Ashley joked.
Phoebe scrunched up her face. "Ummm, I'm not sure. What would vintage school uniforms look like?"
"Plaid pleated skirts. White blouses with round collars. Kneesocks and lace-up shoes," Samantha said.
"In other words, you couldn't tell them apart from brand new-uniforms! " Mary-Kate joked.
"Right," Ashley agreed. She pushed a strand of her long strawberry-blond hair out of her eyes. "That's the trouble with uniforms. They're all hopelessly out of style."Two of a Kind #13: War of the Wardrobes. Copyright � by Mary-Kate & Ash Olsen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.