Excerpt from CANDY APPLE #15: STAR-CROSSED
The last-period bell jangled through the halls of McKinley Middle School,
signaling the end of the school day. A second later, the doors of the
classrooms burst open, and kids flooded the halls, talking and laughing.
Abby Waterman was spinning the combination on her
locker when her best friend, Chelsea Rinaldi, cam hurrying
up to her, her lips pursed in a secretive smile.
"I know that look," Abby said, her long blond hair
swinging over one shoulder as she turned to study her
friends. "You just saw Nathan again."
Chelsea's lips stretched into a full grin that showed
her deep dimples. "He looked at me for, like, three
full seconds," she told Abby. "That's the third time
"It must be true love," Abby teased. Nathan Butcher
was a seventh grader, and Chelsea had been crushing
on him for almost the whole school year.
"Hey, can you come with me for a minute?" Chelsea
asked Abby. "I have something I need to check."
"Now?" said Abby, putting her books into her locker. "But
I have to get to track practice."
"It’ll only take a second," Chelsea told her. "You're
my best friend. I need moral support."
"Okay, I guess I have a little time," Abby said with
a smile. Sometimes she still couldn't believe how lucky
she was to have a best friend like Chelsea. When Abby
had started sixth grade back in September, she hadn't
known a soul. She and Abby was usually up for new things,
the first day of school had been terrifying. McKinley
was much much bigger than her old school, and most
of the kids seemed to already know each other. She'd
been afraid she wouldn'’t have any friends—much
less one as pretty and popular as Chelsea.
But her locker was right next to Chelsea's, and right
away Chelsea had taken Abby under her wing. Chelsea
had an instinct for how things worked in middle school,
maybe because she had an older sister who'd already
been through McKinley. From the beginning, Chelsea
had known which tables to sit at in the cafeteria,
which teachers would believe you if you said your computer
ate your homework, and how to dress so you looked cool
without seeming like you were trying. Abby could still
remember Chelsea's first-day outfit: black Capri pants,
a sleeveless striped shirt, and a cute red headband
in her dark curly hair. It had looked fresh and casual,
without seeming too trendy. Abby had shown up in baggy
jeans, a T-shirt, and her favorite beat-up Converse
low-tops. But with Chelsea's help, she’d updated
her wardrobe—she still wore the sneakers, but
now she paired them with stylish jeans and cute tops.
"So where are we going?" Abby asked as they walked
down the hall together.
"The library," Chelsea told her.
"The library? No wonder you wanted moral support," Abby
joked. Studying wasn't exactly Chelsea's thing. She
was more into the three G's—Gossip, Guys, and
lip Gloss—than the three R's.
The library was quiet and empty. The librarian, sorting
books behind her desk, was the only person in sight.
Chelsea walked right past her, making a beeline for
the computers in the back of the room.
"What are you looking up?" Abby asked as they sat
down in front of one of the monitors.
"My horoscope," Chelsea told her. "I didn't get a
chance to check it this morning. We were late leaving
for school, and Mom was on my case."
"Your horoscope?" Abby looked at her in surprise. "You
really believe in that stuff?
"Totally." Chelsea was busy typing in a Web address.
A moment later, a Web site came up. Little gold moons
and stars floated across a deep-blue background. Across
the top in scrolling gold letters it read: MIZ ASTRID
BRINGS THE STARS DIRECT 2 U!
Chelsea clicked on an icon of a little ram's head. "I
can't look," she said, covering her eyes. "You read
it to me."
Abby didn't get what all the drama was about but
she leaned over and read, "'Aries (March 21-April 20).
You should have lots of mental focus today. If you’re
falling behind in something, now's the time to buckle
down and get to work."
"That's it?" Chelsea uncovered her eyes and read
the page herself. "What a lame horoscope," she said
with a sigh.
"What did you think it was going to say?" Abby asked.
"I was hoping it would say something about Nathan.
After we connected in the hall today, I thought maybe
today's the day! But all this is telling me is that
I'd better do my math homework tonight."
"How do you get that?" Abby asked, scanning the horoscope
"I'm falling behind in math," Chelsea explained. "I've
already missed three homework assignments."
"Oops," Abby said. That was one big difference between
her and Chelsea—Abby always did her homework. "Well,
you probably should get caught up," she told her friend. "But
I wouldn't worry about your horoscope. I've heard this
stuff is all just a bunch of baloney."
"It is not!" Chelsea gasped, her brown eyes widening. "I
swear my horoscope comes true almost every day. Like
yesterday, it said 'You may have trouble with an authority
figure.' And then last night my mom totally got on
my case about cleaning up my room!"
From Star-Crossed. Copyright © 2009 by Mimi McCoy. All