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“This is the lifeâ€”hold on tight!” Julia sang freely along with her CD.
“Julia! Turn off that stupid Hannah Montana CD!” Daniela screeched across the room at her sister.
She stomped over to the stereo on the other side of the room that the girls shared and hit eject before even stopping the CD. She could tell by the exaggerated sigh that her sister was relived with the quiet. She was probably trying to study or something like always. Julia let out a small snicker knowing that Daniela would probably have a test everyday this week and she wouldn’t even have one.
Suddenly Julia had an idea that would drive her sister absolutely nuts. She took a different CD off her desk and slipped it quietly into the stereo and turned the volume knob to the right.
“I woke up on the roof with my brothers…” blasted from the speakers.
“JULIA!” Daniela was clearly heard over the music.
“What?” Julia simply stated innocently.
“I said turn off the music!”
“No,” Julia corrected her sister. “You said to turn off my “stupid” Hannah Montana CD.”
“Just turn it off. I have mid-terms coming up and I need to study.”
“Fine.” Julia pretended to be really upset but she was actually glad that she had annoyed her sister. Even though she was always doing things like this Julia really looked up to Daniela. Daniela was in tenth grade and always got good grades while still managing to have lots of friends that she saw all the time. In six years when Julia is in 10th grade she wants to be just like her sister.
Julia was hoping to spend most of her day just goofing off so now she was bored. The hallow stairs squeaked as Julia pounded down and full speed. What was she going to do for the rest of the day until her mom got home? She could watch TV or play Webkinz on the computer. No. Those are things she did all the time. There must be something else. Julia decided to look for a snack. Her growling stomach reminded her that she hadn’t eaten since noon and it was already quarter after five.
Julia skipped to the kitchen. On the island there was an envelope with her sister’s name. It didn’t have their address on it so it must have been handed out in school. Julia wasn’t one to pry into her sister’s stuff---well, okay, that’s exactly what she does, so she slid a card carefully from the white envelope. From the swirling colors she immediately knew that it was a party invitation. The party was scheduled for tomorrow from 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Wow that’s a long party-Julia realized. Then something at the bottom of the card in small writing beneath swirls and pictures of confetti caught her eye. On the card, handwritten, it said, “Alcohol will be served.”
She knew that a parent like hers, with below average eyesight, would not have been able to read the word. Julia was only 10 but she knew that was probably the point.
But someone with 20/20 vision like her, and her sister, would have definitely seen.
No! Julia thought. This is impossible. This has to be a mistake.
Julia thought she was going to cry. Those four small words erased everything Julia had ever thought about her sister. All the things she looked up to in her sister suddenly hurt her.
Julia read over and over those four small words to see if she had read it wrong. No. They were still there.
But there was still a chance. Just because she had received the invitation didn’t mean that she is going to the party. Julia forced herself to think this but the words didn’t even convince her.
Julia finally managed to move. She stuffed the envelope into the back pocket of her jeans and then took off up the winding redwood staircase taking the stairs two at a time.
She didn’t realize until she got up stairs how tired she really was. A shiver ran through her as she yanked her clothes off and got into her blue fleece pajamas. Julia attempted to forget about the last five minutes of her day, and somehow, it worked. But for only a second.
The moment the door swung open Daniela flew off her bed and pounded down the stairs as if she had been waiting all night to hear that sound. Obviously it was their mother getting home from yet another late night at work. Julia forced herself to sit up in bed to hear the exchange. Even after what she had just found out by poking through her sister’s life she couldn’t help herself from listening.
“Well hello, Honey.” Julia thought her mother sounded more tired than normal days. She always sounded tired but tonight it was worse. It seemed that Julia’s sister caught that too.
“Mom, is everything alright?” She sounded genuinely concerned.
“Ya, Honey,” she yawned. “It’s just this party.”
Oh, my, God. Does Mom already know? Julia thought.
“I know what you mean. Between studying for midterms and thinking about this party I am exhausted.”
Well this changes things. Mom must know about the party, just not the key fact on the bottom of the card.
“Why don’t you go get some sleep? You need to relax.” Julia’s mom spoke quietly to her eldest daughter, so quiet Julia barely heard.
“Sure. But I was wondering if I could do to Hanna’s tomorrow before the party.
She said she’d help me get ready.”
“That sounds like a great idea I’ll drop you off whenever you want to go over.”
“Thanks Mom. Goodnight!”
When she could here Daniela nearing the top of the stairs, Julia slid out of bed. She stood a few feet from the door waiting for her sister to walk into the room. Then she remember the card, she needed proof. She snatched the jeans that she had just taken off from the floor and looked for the correct pocket. Once she had the envelope in her hand she went back to her place at the door. When Daniela pranced into the room she could her sister had something to say so she slid the door closed.
Daniela saw the white envelope in her sister’s hand. “Where did you get that?” she demanded. Julia could tell that Daniela was trying to keep her voice calm.
“I know everything Daniela.” Julia wasn’t sure if this was true, but if she was convincing enough maybe Daniela would confess.
“No you don’t!” Daniela screeched. “You don’t know anything!”
“Oh yeah? I know everything about that party and its going to get you in soooo much trouble.” Julia held up the envelope a little higher. “And there is something else I know?”
“What?” Daniela scoffed.
“I know that up until today you were my biggest role model!” Julia jumped back into bed hoping she wouldn’t cry.
“Now you listen squirt,” Daniela spoke. “Don’t you dare tell Mom that you know. I will make sure that you don’t have a life when you go to high school.” All of a sudden Daniela sounded like she was going to cry. Then Julia fell asleep. This was too much for one night.
When Julia woke up the next day the house was quiet; weird for 11 o’clock on a Saturday. Julia climbed out of bed and slumped down the stairs still in her PJs. When she was in the kitchen she realized that the reason it was so quiet was because her sister had already left. Before Julia could ask why Daniela had left so early, her mom spoke.
“Jewls, would you mind going to your dad’s today. I have a lot of errand to run and I’d rather you weren’t alone.”
“Sure Mom,” Julia was a little disappointed her mom hadn’t had an answer for her unasked questioned, but Julia really didn’t want to bring it up. “When do you want to go?”
“As soon as you have breakfast and change.” Her mom’s voice didn’t sound rushing but like she would wait until Julia wanted to go. Even so, Julia guzzled down some cereal and went up stairs to throw on clothes. She got a bag ready of stuff to do at her dad’s and then went back down to her mother.
“Okay Mom, I’m ready.” They walked out of the house and down the Mercedes in the driveway. Julia got into the front seat, her mom didn’t care that she wasn’t really old enough. Then her mom drove toward the girls’ dad’s house. Along the way Julia’s mom tried to make small talk and Julia gave short answers, but oddly, she wasn’t in a talking mood.
When they reached the small blue house Julia’s mom said, “I’ll walk you to the door.” She never did that. Julia sauntered up the front path and didn’t bother knocking when she got to the door. The lights were off. Her dad was probably still sleeping. Figures. She reached to flip on the light. “SURPRISE!” Yelled a huge group of her friend and family. Daniela was the first to approach Julia. “Happy Birthday.” Daniela gave a huge, sincere smile. Julia looked again at the decorations in the room. There were streamers and ballons and confetti. She had completely forgot her own birthday. She never thought that was possible but she had. Julia could tell by the style of the decorations that Daniela had planned this party. This was the party she was talking about with their mom. Daniela was never planning on going to go to the other party.