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Power, Money, and Fourteen year olds:
The phrase, ‘back to school shopping’ was an understatement. Especially when your father pats you on the head and sends you to the mall with his Platinum Amex, comfort food for the average wealthy teenager in the area of Newport Beach Candace Carter lived in. It just took a little work. A little batting of the eyes, some pouty lips, and a few whiny lines like, “Daddy, don’t you want me to be happy?” or “Don’t you love me anymore?” normally did the trick nicely.
Candace Carter’s father was no exception, of course, and she happily had their family car drive her and her two best friends Blake and Madison to the mall to find the perfect dress for the benefit Madison’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herrington, hosted every summer before school started.
It was mostly rich and fabulous people with rich and fabulous sons and daughters; the kinds that Candace, Blake, and Madison seemed to attract like glue. It was either a wannabe trying to break into their alpha circle or an overly confident guy with an overbite.
The only decent guys, the kind that the girls would crush on, were Yvette’s sloppy seconds. She was a pretty rich brunette from Ocean Ridge Academy – the girls’ private school that had anyone who was anyone in its attendance. It was like celebrity daughters 101.
“I can’t wait for the party,” Madison grinned, tapping her Jessica Simpson heel on the floor of the Hummer, “I can’t wait to see Candace with Chad!”
“Get over yourself,” Candace teased, laughing slightly. Chad was Madison’s older brother; hot older brother. By two years. And whether Candace wanted to admit it or not, she had a huge crush on him. Blake rolled her eyes, giggling. There was more important business to get too.
“So, I’m thinking purple. Rhinestones, clash of white, grey ankle boots,” Blake gushed, scanning through pictures of possible dresses she would be buying on her blackberry, pointing out little details that matched her description. She had such a steady relationship with some of the retailers that they were almost in constant contact; calling her and acting all buddy-buddy and such. As long her mother’s Visa kept sliding, the managers were at her heels and texting her nonstop with exclusive deals and merchandise.
Candace rolled her grass-green eyes and waved a tanned hand Blake’s way. Although her plan seemed…. nice, Candace would do what she normally did and take charge. “No, no, no. Blake, for you, I’m thinking black. Diamonds, lots of silver accessories and matching stilettos.”
“But wouldn’t that be something like what Lauren Conrad did at the award show last month?” Blake asked, pleading with her eyes, silently hoping Candace would just leave her alone with the or-ig-in-al plan. But all Candace did was shake her head. “Of course not; do you think Lauren would actually do diamonds?”
“I guess not,” Blake blinked, fluffing her light blond hair and burying her head in her crocodile skinned Birkin bag, pretending to look for something important. Madison’s eyes widened. “Oh, Candace, do me!”
“Alright,” Candace agreed, studying Madison’s golden blond head and toned arms. It seemed tradition for Candace to pick outfits for the girls and the girls to help pick out one for her. However, it was more of Candace telling them what she wanted then team effort, though. “I’d say go for something brighter; blue and teal tube dress, Bebe, it’s settled. Also, I have some amazing black pumps that I was photographed in, so I can never wear them again. So you can have them. Try big chunky jewelry, you’ll thank me later.”
Madison giggle clapped and flipped open her Dolce and Gabbana diamond edition razor and started speed-typing a text. Candace suddenly felt a pang of jealousy; why hadn’t her father gotten her the phone for her birthday like she asked? Instead, she was on her way to Fashion Island with his Amex; like, she did that all the time anyway. Blake perked up. “Candace, did you hear from Jay?”
Jay Gomez was Candace’s mother’s personal shopper and assistant. While her mother was enduring one of her many chains of plastic surgery, she’d be gossiping and chatting about fashion with him. He had prepped her and her mother for all the latest parties, events, and even casual days. Most of the time, when the girls couldn’t go to the Fashion Island mall, Jay would go in their place and help Candace with some style choices. Basically, whenever her best friends asked about Jay, they wanted the scoop on her own fashion agenda. Candace nodded, smoothing her white blouse over her dark wash skinny jeans. “I’m going vintage. Let’s say, Katy Perry at her finest.”
Blake and Madison nodded, trying not to look so impressed. They felt like she was always one step ahead to their beta, making her the alpha. It was the unwritten rule. Be silently jealous when Candace talks.
“Sounds hot,” Madison laughed, pushing down the window and breathing in the warm summer air. Blake nodded, her eyes silently staring Candace down. “Vintage. How so?”
Candace raised her eyebrow. Was this a challenge? She decided not to worry about it. If Blake was challenging her, she’d just have to put her back in her place. “Something related to a flapper. Ew, I would never do a flapper, but Jay is buying it for me as we speak. While you guys dress shop, I’m going school shopping.”
Blake shrugged, taking a sip of a coke she got out of the mini fridge under the seat. It seemed like she was growing out of this little ‘clique’ situation she had going here. Madison and Candace were her best friends, but she felt totally unequal. She was too mature for this; she was almost fifteen for God’s sake! She glanced over at Candace who was picking her manicured finger nails and twisting a random strawberry blond hair strand around her finger. Madison was on the phone with her father, asking to raise her credit limit or something.
Ping. Her blackberry buzzed in her bag and she fished it out. Chad, Madison’s older brother had texted her something Candace would probably die to hear. She gulped.
“This is it,” Blake thought nervously, typing a response, “this is for Blake’s almost dress.”