A Matter of Attitude [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Hayden
eBook Category: Young Adult
eBook Description: America's Next Top Designer Fashionista with the fiercest style sense and head-turning clothes.... That's Angela Jenkins. Even though her cutting-edge designs and graphic legwear sometimes draw criticism from her peers, Angela knows that one day she will be a top designer, and her best friend at Kressler High, Adrian Gomez, is her biggest supporter. But at fifteen, how is anyone (like the extremely cute JaRoli Spencer) supposed to check her out when she's stuck working at her family's Caribbean-style restaurant all the time? The answer: getting elected director of her school's holiday fashion show. But Angela's got designer-clad competition: the very popular Karen Frasier, who has it all--including JaRoli. So when Shayla Mercer, the girl with the toughest street rep, offers to make sure Angela wins--for a fee--Angela says yes. And she learns that the price of popularity can be too high.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Kimani Press
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2008
At seven o'clock the vibing beats of Marvin Gaye's song "What's Going On" drifted from the alarm clock and around my bedroom, waking me out of my sleep. One of my survival rules was if you knew the day was going to be a straight-up crazy one, at least wake up to some good old-school music. I was scheduled to work the morning-to-early-afternoon shift at my family's restaurant, the Island Shack, but did not want to spend the last Saturday before Labor Day weekend in that place. My summer vacation had gone by so quickly. It seemed like only yesterday I was wearing the burgundy graduation cap and gown that signaled my last day at Kressler Junior High. As family, friends and the graduating class sat in the air conditioned auditorium of Queens College, everyone's mood was jubilant. But I refused to believe anyone could be happier than I was. Squeezing the rolled-up diploma in my hand, relishing the coarse texture of the paper, I ticked off my plans to make the next two months the best ever.
All those dreams of vacation fun burned up like a campfire and turned into an ash pile. Mama kept me on the schedule at the restaurant. Every day. The only time off she gave was for the Fourth of July. Independence Day. At the time, I wanted to give her a smart remark about granting me freedom for that occasion, but I kept my mouth shut. Coney Island Amusement Park turned out to be the happening spot. I could smell the faint scent of shellfish captured in the Atlantic Ocean breeze, while I sat on a beach towel eating cold watermelon with my feet buried in the warm sand. I savored those precious hours. It would have been great to spend every day at the beach. Some kids got that luxury, but not me.
To help shake my negative mood, I had set the dial on my clock radio to a station that played songs from the seventies instead of rap. My friends thought I was strange because I liked listening to a lot of old jams while they were all strictly on the hip-hop tip. A lot of the other kids thought I was strange because I dressed a bit crazy—every day I wore striped stockings, tights or socks—but I didn't care. Lots of people would have loved to imitate me; they just didn't have the guts.
I reached out and hit the off button on my alarm, which was sitting on the nightstand next to my bed. My intention was just to close my eyes for a few minutes more, but I must have dozed off, because I woke up to my mother's voice calling out my name and the sweet smell of frying bacon in the air. I opened one eye to peek at the alarm and was surprised to see that I had fallen asleep for half an hour.
"Angela, get your lazy butt out of that bed," my mother yelled from the bottom of the staircase. "C'mon now, you're supposed to help out at the restaurant this morning."
The Island Shack was a business my mother had bought two years earlier with life insurance money her father, my grandfather Louis, had left her. Grandfather Louis's dream had always been to own his own autobody shop, but he could never get that vision fulfilled and had retired disappointed. After his funeral, my mother was really surprised to hear that the entire life insurance policy was left to her. I sometimes think she bought the restaurant out of guilt. Since Grandfather Louis hadn't been able to get a business off the ground, Mama was determined to see his dream realized.
Right after depositing the check, my mother found a real estate agent who specialized in commercial properties. It didn't take her too long to find a location. The agent took her to see exactly four places in one day. When Mama stepped out of the car and studied the last corner property at the intersection of two major boulevards, she knew it was the one. She was so impressed by the location and size of the place that she wrote a check on the spot to secure the deal, never mind the fact that the diner previously on the premises had gone belly-up.
Even though we weren't rolling in money, a lot of people assumed we were sitting on some major paper. Our restaurant was pretty spacious, which caused people to gossip. In the dining area, we had fifteen tables that could seat six people each without making anyone feel claustrophobic. So between the restaurant and my wardrobe, a lot of girls in the neighborhood threw jealous words my way. A wave of anxiety washed over me like a scary premonition. I seriously did not feel like facing the public today. I rolled over in bed, covered my ears with my pillow and pulled the blanket over my head.
"Angela, do you hear me?"
I peeked out from under the blanket and yelled back, "My stomach hurts. Can't somebody else take my place?" Deep in my heart, I knew some customer at the restaurant was going to try and work my nerves today. I could feel it. It seemed as if I was always getting into it with somebody.
My mother stayed on my back about the customer always being right, but when a customer got rude and started dissing you, it was best not to stay quiet. This was Springfield Heights. A small town in Queens, New York. Even though my neighborhood was a mixture of working-class people who worked office jobs in Manhattan, just a few blocks away were the Benson Hill Projects. And even though we used to live there, and some really cool people still lived there—like my best friend, Adrian—there were also some troublemakers who hung around and didn't mind testing you. So if somebody was dissing me, I usually gave it back to them on full blast; otherwise, people labeled you as soft and stupid and would constantly pick on you.
Copyright © 2008 by Hayden.