Lila's got the Mother's Day blues...
When Lila Fowler hears about the Sweet Valley Middle School spring fashion show, she knows she's got to be one of the models. After all, not only is she one of the most beautiful girls in school, she also has the most fabulous wardrobe! There's only one problem: it's a mother-daughter fashion show, and Lila's mother lives in France. She hasn't seen her in years.
Lila doesn't have her mother's most recent address or phone number--there's no way to contact her. So Lila has to think of something fast. If her mother can't be in the fashion show, maybe someone else could pretend to be her mother. But who?
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Lila glanced forward at Mr. Bowman. He was gazing at Jessica, nodding thoughtfully as she droned on and on. When she was sure the teacher wouldn't notice, Lila cautiously leaned forward and grabbed the newspaper out of Caroline's bag. Then she settled back and opened it flat on her desk, shielding it from the teacher's view with her copy of Of Mice and Men, the book she had been assigned for her own report.
She scanned the first page quickly. As usual, it was filled with boring news about boring things. The Chess Club had won a match against a nearby school. The school's maintenance staff was planning to paint the lockers this summer. The Cuisine Arts Club would be raising money by selling special Mother's Day cookies all next week. One of the eighth-grade teachers was getting married. Lila grimaced. This stuff was even more deadly than Jessica's report.
Then a headline near the bottom of the page caught her eye: "Sweet Valley Middle School Will Host Fashionable Fund-raiser."
Lila brightened. Fashionable? Now that sounded interesting. She read on: The Sweet Valley Women's Shelter needs our help! The shelter will be holding its first annual fund-raising fashion show at Sweet Valley Middle School this year, and it needs twenty middle-school models.
Lila paused to think about that. Twenty students would get to model in a real fashion show! It sounded incredibly exciting and glamorous. Lila smoothed back her long, shiny brown hair and smiled, picturing herself sauntering down a runway dressed in the latest fashions. Then she returned her attention to the article. She skipped a long, boring paragraph about the goals and needs of the women's shelter and soon found what she was looking for: There will be a sign-up sheet outside the school's main office on Thursday for all interested girls and--
"Well?" A voice interrupted Lila's reading. "What did you think?"
Lila looked up at Jessica, who had just taken her seat across the aisle. Lila had been so engrossed in her fantasies that she hadn't noticed that her friend had finally finished her book report. "Oh, it was great," Lila said, moving her hand slightly to cover the story about the fund-raiser. She was pretty sure that Jessica hadn't heard about the fashion show yet, and she didn't want to be the one to clue her in--not until after Lila herself had secured one of the twenty modeling spots. "Just brilliant, if I do say so myself. After all, I wrote half of it for you."
Jessica started to answer, but the bell rang. Lila jumped up and rushed for the door.
A few minutes later Elizabeth Wakefield strolled down the hall with Amy Sutton. They were talking about Mother's Day, which was ten days away. "I've got to come up with some good ideas," Elizabeth said. "I really want to make Mom feel special."
"I know what you mean," Amy said. "I think I'm going to get my mom some of that perfume she's always talking about."
"That sounds nice," Elizabeth said. "But I want to do something for my mom this year--not just buy . . ."
Her voice drifted off. The two girls were walking past the school office, and Elizabeth had spotted her twin staring dejectedly at the bulletin board.
"Uh-oh," she said.
Amy gave her a quizzical look. "What's wrong?"
"I meant to tell Jessica about that fashion show," Elizabeth explained. "I figured she wouldn't get around to reading the article until it was too late to sign up. I was going to fill her in first thing this morning, but it slipped my mind."
Amy rolled her eyes. "Oops," she said sarcastically. "What a tragedy." Amy was one of Elizabeth's closest friends, but she didn't have much patience for Jessica or any of the other Unicorns.
Although Amy had a point--it wasn't the end of the world--Elizabeth couldn't help feeling a little guilty. She knew how much her twin loved things like fashion shows. The only reason she hadn't told her sooner was that Jessica was terrible at keeping secrets. If Elizabeth had told her about the fashion show before the paper came out, it would have been a matter of milliseconds before the entire Unicorn Club knew about it too. That wouldn't have been fair to everyone else.
Elizabeth hurried to join her twin. "Hi, Jess," she said. Did you sign up?"
Jessica waved a hand at the list tacked to the bulletin board. "See for yourself," she said grumpily. "I didn't even hear about the stupid fashion show until just now. By the time I got here, all the slots were filled."
"Tough luck, Jessica." Amy glanced at the list and snorted. But at least you don't have to worry about the Unicorns not being represented. Half the club is signed up right at the top of the list. Janet Howell, Ellen Riteman, Tamara Chase--"
"Don't tell me," Jessica cut her off. "I don't even want to know who else is on the list. I'm sure to hear all about it at lunch, anyway." She scowled and waved the copy of the Sixers she was holding. "Why didn't you tell me, Lizzie?"
"Sorry," Elizabeth said. "I meant to. I really did." She glanced at her watch. It was almost time for their next class. "Listen, Jess," she said. "Amy and I were just talking about Mother's Day. I thought you and I should put our heads together and come up with some special stuff to do for Mom. What do you think?"
Jessica shrugged. "Whatever." She crumpled up her copy of the Sixers and tossed it in a nearby trash can.
Elizabeth sighed. Maybe this wasn't the best time to ask her sister to concentrate on something like Mother's Day. "Never mind," she said. "We'll talk about it later."
Just as Jessica had predicted, the fashion show was the topic of choice that day at the Unicorns' favorite table in the cafeteria, which they called the Unicorner. Jessica gritted her teeth as Janet Howell gathered her shoulder-length brown hair on top of her head and posed.
"What do you think?" Janet asked the table at large. "Should I wear my hair up for the fashion show? Or down?"
Ellen Riteman crunched on a potato chip.
"Definitely up," she said. "It looks much more glamorous that way." She giggled. "And since we are going to be models, glamour is what it's all about, right?"
Jessica rolled her eyes. She couldn't imagine anything less glamorous than Ellen with potato-chip grease on her chin.
But Janet was nodding. "Speaking of glamorous," she said, "you'll never guess which store is loaning the clothes we're going to be wearing." She smoothed her hair back into place. "Clothes Encounter."
Tamara gasped. "Wow," she said, looking impressed. "That's the most expensive store in the entire mall! She straightened the purple scarf she was wearing around her neck. Each of the Unicorns tried to wear something purple, the color of royalty, every day. It was the official club color.
Jessica scowled at her tuna sandwich. Things just kept getting worse. She loved the expensive designer clothes at Clothes Encounter, but she couldn't afford to buy anything there, even on sale.
"No kidding," Mandy said. "Nobody I know can afford even a pair of earrings there." She grinned at Lila. "Well, nobody except Lila. She practically keeps the place in business all by herself."
Lila tossed her head. "True," she said airily, wiping her mouth daintily with a paper napkin. "I hope they don't give me something to wear that I already have. Maybe I should call and request something brand-new and hip to model in the fashion show"
At Lila's words, a silence fell over the entire group. Jessica felt her jaw drop slightly open. She knew that most of the other Unicorns had signed up to be in the fashion show, but she hadn't noticed Lila's name on the list. Didn't Lila realize what kind of a show it was?
Lila was glancing around at her friends, looking perplexed. "What?" she demanded. "Why are you all staring at me like that? Do I have a piece of lettuce in my teeth or something?"
Finally Ellen spoke up. "You're going to model, Lila?"
"Of course," Lila replied with a shrug. "I got the very last spot--number twenty. By the way, thanks a lot for clueing me in, you guys," she added sarcastically. "I almost didn't find out in time."
"But Lila," Janet began, "uh, don't you know that, um . . ."
Her voice trailed off. Jessica had never seen Janet Howell speechless before, but she was at a loss for words now. And Jessica could understand why. But someone had to speak up. "It's a mother-daughter fashion show, Lila," she blurted out. "In honor of Mother's Day. And you don't have a mother!"
For Lila, the next few seconds seemed to pass very, very slowly. She could feel her face turn beet red. Even her earlobes felt as though they were on fire. A mother-daughter show?
Mrs. Fowler had left her family--and Sweet Valley--years ago. She still called Lila on Christmas and on Lila's birthday. Most of the time, anyway. But Lila hadn't seen her mother for so long that she hardly remembered what she looked like.
Why hadn't she read that article more carefully? She had been so excited at the thought of modeling that she hadn't even noticed any mention of a Mother's Day theme. But she couldn't tell her friends that. They were all staring at her as if she were some kind of bizarre circus freak.
"Sorry, Lila," Jessica said. "I thought you knew." She paused. "If you want, I'll take your place in the show. We can go down to the office and do it right now."
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Book Description Sweet Valley, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0553485997
Book Description Sweet Valley, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110553485997