I smile smugly at the little girl. "Sorry, sweetheart, get here earlier next time."
Ugh. My fake sugar--sweet smile turns to a scowl. I hate crybabies.
I toss a haughty glance at the young woman who is obviously the brat's mother. "Teach your kid to shut up and the world will be a better place." I scoff.
"Ex--cuse me?" she gasps. "Just who do you think you are?" In an undertone, she murmurs to the tot, "Don't worry, Kaylee sweetheart, she's right. We'll get here earlier tomorrow. She's just being mean." Turning back to me, she snarls, "Now, I don't know or care who you are, young lady, but I think you're the one who needs some training in etiquette." So there, she adds in her head.
"Yeah, um, I don't think so. You see,I don't believe I've introduced myself. I am--" I lean in close. "--the Cara Elissabetta Machintosh. I'm sure you know my father?"
"The senator," she breathes.
"Yep!" I smile. "So, next time, keep your nose out of my business and keep your kid out of my movie theater. 'Kay?" I grin, bubbling over with fake niceness, and strut away. "Cheerio!"
** ** **
A few hours later, I sit down to supper with my mother and younger sister. Of course, Daddy's not here. He's...um...working. As usual.
"So, Cara." My mother cuts into a tiny piece of chicken. "I have some, erm, exciting news for you."
"Oh." Great. My mother's 'exciting' news usually turn out to be as fun as getting your eyeballs gouged out. With un-manicured nails.
"Yes, your Aunt LJ flew down in her helicopter today and thought it might be fun if you came and visited her in Los Angeles."
"Oh." Oh? "Oh! She did?" I like my Aunt LJ. She has a Prada store down the street from her mansion in Beverly Hills. And a Chanel outlet. And Max Azaria. And...
"Cara? Did you hear me? She wants you to fly out tomorrow. So you need to pack tonight. All right?"
"So, I thought you might like to meet my newest friend and client. She's a lovely woman, really..." My aunt talks loudly over the roar of the helicopter and clicking cameras.
"Who is it?" I scream back.
"Ooooh, Maeve Paris, really! I've been her biggest fan since, like, forever!"
"I know, sweetheart." My aunt beams at me.
"Liesl, over here!"
"Cara, darling! Smile!"
"Machintoshes equal front cover! Smile, babies!"
Ugh. Paparrazzi. I smile anyway...never know who's gonna be watching! Like, the president, or that eye-candy over there--wonder who he is? Or...Daddy...I shake my head away from those twisted thoughts that can only lead to trouble, or worse, tears.
"So, Leisl, can you tell us about your latest piece from your spring clothing line? I've heard it's just too, too fabu!" A middle-aged woman thrusts a microphone into my aunt's face. I roll my eyes. Reporters. Always trying to pretend that they're totally into what teens are into.
"Is that who I think it is? Oh, yes. World, the Cara Elissabetta Machintosh is here!" Crap.
Instantly, I'm swarmed with a massive crowd of people--civilians and reporters alike. Over the shoulders of the crowd, I see my aunt frantically mouthing, "Silent. Stay silent!" So I do. I fight through the crush, ignoring the mikes and pads of paper in my way. However, one question makes me stop cold.
"Cara, is it true that your parents are getting a divorce?"
I freeze, then slowly turn around. The crowd quiets, wanting to hear the future of the world's most famous family. Other than, like, the president or the Kardashians or something.
"No. Most definitely not!"
"Thanks, dear, and what about this little rumor I heard about you and...Justin Bieber, was it? And Zac Efron, and Logan Lerman, and..." Oooh, Logan Lerman, now there's some eye candy! I could do with a little piece of him...Focus, Cara, focus! There's a mad crowd out to get your life story...get to the house! Or mansion, I should say...
I shake my head and ignore the rest of the questions, fighting through the crowd. When I finally reach the relative quiet of the mansion, Aunt LJ wraps me in a hug.
"I'm sorry you had to be the one to answer that, hon."
I fight the panic rising in my throat. "They...they arent, right, Aunt LJ? I didn't think they were, but they're really distant--and Daddy's never home--and what if he's having an affair, and--"
"Oh, Cara, honey," my aunt laughs, hugging me tighter. I rest my head on her shoulder, breathing in her comforting perfume. "I'm sure your parents' marriage will be fine. Just fine, sweetie."
A few minutes later, I head upstairs to unpack my stuff, feeling slightly reassured, but my stomach is still feeling queasy. What if there is more to this story than I thought? Then, it hits me. I'm the Cara Elisabetta machintosh, correct?
I'll just have to do some digging for this story myself.