Okay, I know what you're thinking: Lila Fowler has it all. And I admit, I am the most beautiful and popular person I know. (Ignore my friends in the Unicorn Club when they say the same thing about themselves. They are so competitive.) And I'm the daughter of George Fowler, the richest man in Sweet Valley. Daddy gives me absolutely everything I want.
Well, almost everything. Sometimes I think I could buy a whole department store of clothes with Daddy's credit card or throw the craziest party in town, and he would be too busy to care. In fact, my father probably wouldn't even notice. Maybe it's time I test him to see just how far I can go . . . .
Read an Excerpt
"Have some salad, Lila," Mrs. Pervis said. It was Tuesday night, and Dad and I were having dinner together. Well, we were at the same table anyway. "Thanks, Mrs. Pervis," I said, taking the bowl from her. But I had no appetite. "Dad?" I asked. I'd been thinking all day long. And I'd decided I really needed to tell him about Jimmy. Now that we were practically dating and everything, I really needed Dad's permission to be going out at all. Especially in this case, because Jimmy was so much older than me.
"Just a minute, honey," Dad murmured. I sighed as Mrs. Pervis left the room and shut the door firmly behind her. Dad had arrived at the table with a humongous briefcase. He'd plonked it down next to his plate and opened it without even bothering to say hello. Since then he'd been shuffling papers and not paying attention to me at all. I stared down into my salad bowl. Arugula, radicchio, and romaine mixed with scallions. Not your average salad, but this wasn't your average dinnertime either. Did I say dinnertime at the Fowlers' was like a silent movie? Well, I take it back. It was more like a painting: Still life of Father and Daughter. I bit my lip. I was determined to talk to Dad no matter what.
"Dad?" I asked brightly. "Would you tell me about your company?" It was worth a try. Maybe he'd get interested in talking about it, since running the company took up so much of his time. Then I could just kind of casually work in Jimmy.
Dad looked up, a puzzled expression on his face. "Fowler Enterprises?" he asked. He cleared his throat. "Well, dear, I do importing and exporting. And a whole lot more." He turned back to his papers. I tried again."Do you use, you know, computers?"
Dad looked up, a smile frozen on his face. "Computers, honey?" he asked. "Tons. We're a leader in systems technology, especially where the new modem port start-ups are concerned. The terminals all interface with one another using the BBB triple-megabyte system log." His pen moved quickly across the page in front of him. "Clear?"
"Um--yeah," I said slowly. Clear as mud anyway. "But--" Dad pulled a cell phone out of his briefcase.
"That can't be right," he muttered to himself, punching in a number. I sat in my seat, feeling as ignored as the lettuce leaves in my salad bowl. "Mr. Lum?" Dad said into the receiver. "Yeah, Fowler here. Listen, I'm reviewing the notes from Friday's meeting, and I've found some amounts that don't jibe..."
More business. I massaged my cheeks. He doesn't mean to ignore me, I told myself. If he knew how I felt, he'd stop. At least I was almost positive he would.
"All right," Dad said into the receiver. "Talk to you later, then." He snapped the phone off and set it in his briefcase. Then he went back to work. My mouth felt dry for no particular reason.
"So, um, Dad?" I asked.
"Uh-huh," Dad said absently, not looking up from his papers. I swallowed hard. It was now or never. And, like Shakespeare or another one of those guys said, honesty is the best policy. "Well, I met this guy," I said, emphasizing the last word in case Dad wasn't listening too hard. "And he's a real fox."
Dad made a mark with his pen. I wished I could get in between him and the paper. "I think I'm--um--interested," I said. "And I think he is too."
In the movies, when daughters make announcements like that, sometimes the parents are thrilled and other times they're totally bummed. Either way, they notice. But that's the movies, I guess. Dad still didn't look up. "That's nice, dear," he said pleasantly.
I bit my lip. I suspected that I could have said, Hey Dad! The house is on fire! and he would still have said, That's nice, dear. I resisted the urge to wave my hand in front of his face and say, Earth to Dad!