Hello all! My fab publisher has allowed me to post the first two chapters of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, so here they are! Please note there is a page break since this is a long post!
CHAPTER 1. ATTACK OF THE MINI BEAUTY QUEENS
Applying butt glue to my sister’s backside is, without question, not the first way I’d choose to spend a weekend.
However, getting up close and personal is just one of the many glamorous tasks that are involved in being on Team Mackenzie. My sister’s a beauty queen, and she’s owning this room. I can’t help but feel a small sense of pride while watching Mac strut on stage in her (non-riding-up) bikini in front of an audience.
I do realize how pathetic this makes my life sound.
Sometimes I can’t believe that Mackenzie and I are related. Even the middle-aged man next to me currently taking photos of her gave me a yeah-right look when I told him we were sisters. Not like I care what he thinks. He’s the creepy one here.
Mac is one of those girls with shiny hair and gorgeous skin. You know the ones that I’m talking about.
I’m currently surrounded by them.
Even the most self-confident girl (who, to put it politely, does not possess any of the above mentioned characteristics) can feel a little down spending an entire day with the Beauty Bots.
There Mac is in the spotlight, smiling away as her (mostly fake) blonde-highlighted hair bounces in the air. She twists and turns to the music blaring during the swimsuit competition. Her tanned legs (done in the hotel room bathroom last night) hit the mark as she shows off her white teeth (also fake) to the three judges in front of her. She bats her lashes (well, some belong to her) flirtatiously to the one male judge. Her red-sequined two-piece suit (I spent all week trying to get her to sit still for me to take it in) sparkles in the spotlight. It took two spa visits, one salon appointment, a hair and makeup stylist, one pageant coach, one seamstress sister, and one very stressed-out mother for her to arrive at this moment.
The music ends and she gives one final bow before she struts off stage.
“Wow, she’s phenomenal,” the guy next to me says.
I give him a look that makes it clear that I’m beyond disgusted by his interest in my sister.
Oh, did I forget to mention that Mackenzie is seven-years-old?
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I walk over to the side of the stage. Mom’s suffocating Mac with a giant hug of congratulations.
“Oh, sweetie, you were incredible. I’m so proud of you!” Mom wipes the sweat off her brow. She spent Mac’s entire routine behind the judges, duplicating the moves. I used to be right by her side, but now I prefer to watch from the back. It’s enough that I’m wearing a GO MACKENZIE! shirt with Mac’s latest glamour shot on it. While this new one doesn’t have glitter all over it like the others, her two eyeballs line up at a very unfortunate place on me.
“Wasn’t this the best you’ve seen her, Lexi?” Mom blasts me with her overexaggerated smile.
“You were great, Mac,” I say, stuffing my hands in my pockets. I once gave Mac a huge hug after one of her routines and a bobby pin got caught on my sleeve. When I pulled away, half her hair went with me. I learned a very important lesson that day: Hands off the talent.
“We’ve got to get you back into your gown for crowning!” Mom grabs Mac’s hand as we walk out of the room. Mom turns her head to me, “I’ve got it from here, Lexi.”
I stop as I watch them get into the elevator without me.
While I should be grateful to have a few moments to myself to recover from the last several hours of constant running around, I can’t help but feel like I’m being left out of some quality mother-daughter time. But today’s Mackenzie’s day.
I turn around and head to the hotel lobby. I sit down on an overstuffed chair, close my eyes, and remember a different, simpler time. A time before pageants. A time before Miss Mackenzie came into our lives.
I was an only child for the first nine years of my life. I remember being little and wanting to have a baby brother or sister (or a dog), but then the fighting started. At first, my parents would hardly speak. I remember thinking something was wrong. We’d be at the kitchen table and it’d be silent. Not the good, peaceful quiet, but the unnerving kind. I’d attempt to shatter the silence barrier by telling them something I learned in school — the name of the fifth president, the capital of Wisconsin, the meaning of onomatopoeia. All I’d get in return was a strained “that’s nice” between bites.
I started to relish the quiet once the yelling began. I would sit in my room and put my head under my pillow, pretending that I was part of one of those perfect families I’d seen on TV. Then something weird happened. Mom and Dad suddenly started to act all lovey-dovey around each other. I thought everything was going to be back to normal. Then I found out Mom was pregnant. I guess they thought having another kid would save their marriage.
Several months later, Mackenzie was born. But Dad left anyway. Mac wasn’t even a year old.
So there’s a nine-year age difference between Mackenzie and me. I do my best to be the caring and fun older sister. I also wanted to make up for the fact that Dad wasn’t around. And selfishly, I thought having a little sister would fill the emptiness I felt in our family.
Mom found something else to fill that void.
CHAPTER 2. OBSESSION ACTUALLY
The bright spot of going to pageants nearly every weekend is also one of the most problematic: a boy. After all, most trouble usually starts with a boy. But he isn’t just any boy. No, he’s possibly the most amazing, hottest, and sweetest boy ever known to teenage kind.
Okay, this is probably the point where I should mention that I sometimes have a hard time focusing on anything whenever Logan comes up. I’m usually a pretty together person, but whenever I’m around him, I melt into this giddy, brainless, gooey lump of my former self.
Since he’s currently walking over to me, I start to focus on my breath.
Easy, tiger, you can handle this.
“There you are!” he says, and I try to keep my heart from floating out of my body when he smiles at me. “You cannot leave me alone in there. That’s cruel and unusual punishment.” He winks one of his deep green eyes at me.
I feel the heat rising in my cheeks . . . and elsewhere. “Yeah, especially the unusual part. I’m not sure, but did that one mom dress her newborn up as a cowgirl or a stripper?”
He sits down on the couch next to me. Like, right next to me. “It’s hard to tell sometimes, especially when sequined leather chaps are involved.”
I give a little laugh, all while reminding myself to keep my wits. I swear, one of these days I’m going to totally lose it and attack him. I’ll be on the cover of magazines as The Teen Terror, and they’ll make a made-for-TV movie about me where they’ll have me hiding in the bushes and sending him lockets of my hair. (I hid in his bushes once, but that was on a dare from Benny.)
I’m pretty sure Logan knows I have a crush on him. I mean, how could he not? Pretty much every girl in school does. Except Cameron, who thinks he’s a bit too “clean cut” and “boring” (blasphemy!). And she’s supposed to be the smart one.
Logan’s talking to me like it’s no big deal, but I’m transfixed by every curve of his face, every piece of sandy blond hair on his head. I find my gaze shifting down toward his lips. Oh, those lips . . . which are in the middle of telling me some story.
Come on, Lexi. Concentrate.
I dig my fingernails into my arm.
“. . . is ridiculous, don’t you think?” Logan finishes his story and looks at me for some sort of reaction.
I stall for a few moments by pretending to look thoughtful.
What could he have said that agreeing with him would be the wrong answer? It’s not like there was any way he would say something like, “You know the criticism the Nazis get is ridiculous, don’t you think?”
He’s clearly looking for me to agree with him. So I go for broke. “Yeah.”
“Exactly.” He nods appreciatively at me.
Logan, completely oblivious to my nerves, grabs my sleeve and gives it a playful tug. “Nice shirt, by the way.”
Ugh, this silly shirt. I decide to do what I do best. Go for the Miss Self Deprecating crown.
“Thanks. I’m trying to win Most Non-Photogenic today.” I gesture down at my hideously embarrassing T-shirt, rolled up jeans, and canvas shoes. “I think there should be a special award for NO hair and makeup.” My hair is in a messy ponytail and I think at some point this morning I put on lip balm. I don’t see the point in trying to put any effort into my appearance on days like this, even though I know Logan’s going to be here. It would be futile to try to compete under these circumstances.
“That’s because you don’t need hair and makeup.” He nudges my leg with his knee. “Do you see what these girls look like when they arrive?”
I try to not read into what Logan’s saying. I’d only be torturing myself thinking that he sees me as anything but a friend. Because while I’m here with my sister, he’s here with the ultimate beauty queen.
A.k.a. future Miss Texas.
A.k.a. Logan’s girlfriend.
Alyssa deserves all the accolades she gets because she’s the epitome of a beauty queen: honey-colored hair with blond highlights framing her heart-shaped face. She even has these Disneyesque blue eyes that I swear actually sparkle.
It’s so not fair.
“Come on.” Logan gets up off the couch and extends his hand. “They’ll kill us if we miss the crowning.” I take his hand to stand and then he puts his arm around my shoulder. I try to steady my breath. Logan’s always been very touchy-feely with me, but I still get butterflies in my stomach. Every. Single. Time. Of course, with me Logan just rubs my back or gives me these huge hugs that lift me up. It’s always very safe, very friendly. Unfortunately.
We enter the hotel conference room and the anxiety in the room practically knocks us over. All the parents, kids, and coaches are staring up at the podium as if their lives depend on the results.
“Hey.” Logan gently nudges my arm as I’m about to sit with my mom and Mac. “You going to Josh’s party tonight?”
I shake my head. I didn’t even know that Josh was having a party. But I like Logan even more for thinking that we run in the same circles.
Luckily, I don’t have to bring him down to reality since I have a good excuse. “Can’t,” I tell him. “I have to work.”
“Too bad.” Logan seems genuinely sad. “Well . . . I guess I’ll see ya later.” He gives me another wink before he walks over to Alyssa.
So, when he said “too bad,” do we think he meant “too bad that you have to be stuck on a Saturday night in the prime of your youth to work at the mall” or “too bad because I was going to dump Alyssa and make out with you all night”?
See what I did there?
If I don’t watch it, I’ll let one tiny comment from Logan send me off into the delusional deep end. I know it’s ridiculous, but I can’t help it. I know it doesn’t really matter what he says. The fact is, he has a girlfriend.
All I need to do is look over and see his arms wrapped around Alyssa’s tiny waist as they gaze happily into each other’s eyes, and I come tumbling back to reality.
Excerpt from Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, published by Point/Scholastic, copyright © 2013 by Elizabeth Eulberg. Used with permission.
So that's the first two chapters! Hope you enjoyed meeting Lexi. I'm so looking forward to the release of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality in March and fingers crossed you are are too!