Decisive (adj.): When a person is decisive, they have or show the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively. A Rhapsody Seagull always makes good decisions.
Few people know, but there's a fifth DSL Dater. She's a tall, slender towhead blonde with sleepy green eyes. She's an 8th grader who goes by the name of Cassidy Nemick, Blondie's one and only little sister.
Blondie's a tad overprotective of her sister, which might explain why Cassidy is never around. The poor thirteen-year-old is banned from scandalous games of Truth or Dare—Blondie would just die if Cassidy were to lose her first kiss in a silly Dare.
But there are other reasons too. For instance, Cassidy still refers to Blondie by her given name—one that is never to be repeated in front of anybody, especially the established members of the Red Wine and Sudoku Society.
Then there are the little things, like Blondie's real eye colour. Or her bra size. Or even—just maybe—the place where she hides her Garnier Nutrisse Multi-Lights highlighting kit.
It's all information that the DSL Daters, even Schuyler, her second-in-command, would kill to know. But it's the kind of information that only Wakeley was smart enough to figure out with a little scheming, bribing, and a whole lot of going undercover.
Learn-It Yourself Library was a fairly easy course. Rhapsody Academy students from all grades gathered in the Deck Seven library to write up history reports, study for the latest Science of Ports of Call assignment, or work on their six-week Learn-It Yourself projects: a choice of a book project on a book of your choice, so long as it was more than four hundred pages; a paper on the studies of the existing social levels at RAOTS; or a three thousand word short story that took place in one of the latest Ports of Call.
Today, Wakeley found herself in a cushy violet chair; furiously taking notes on The Host by Stephanie Meyer—a good enough author, albeit a very difficult read. Amid her several notebooks and binders she had a thick biography of Walt Disney on her lap—the Learn-It Yourself course encouraged the students to study other books and subjects they were interested in during their free time in the class.
Normally Wakeley would have found such a dimly-lit, quiet environment peaceful, but nobody could ignore the snickers and snide remarks sent her way. She had been debating to herself whether to stick it out for the rest of the period or go and ask Leslie for a take-home pass for the last twenty minutes. Apparently, the word of Wakeley's 'accident' had spread faster than a cold virus at summer camp. While Kathryn and Nicole believed Wakeley's side of the story, none of the other girls would even talk to her. Wakeley, much too embarrassed to show her face to Canada, Michael, or Max, had taken to eating at the Windjammer Café for dinner and hoarding away boxes of Cocoa Rice Krispies for breakfast.
The only one who was truly sympathetic to Wakeley's plight was Shannon. The chubby blonde had gone from extremely temperamental to kind and caring in less than a week. She had begun to sneak rolls back to the cabin from dinner and would buy Wakeley granola bars from the Boutiques of Centrum. Wakeley was truly grateful and hoped that in time, she would think up of a brilliant plan to take down Blondie once and for all, therefore ending poor Shannon's misery.
An icy cold droplet of water landed on Wakeley's bare leg. She snapped her head up, annoyed, only to find Shannon standing in front of her with a sweating vanilla creamice from Seattle's Best in one hand and a caramel one in the other.
"Aren't you supposed to be in Theatre Arts?" Wakeley murmured, her brows knit together in confusion.
Shannon shrugged and flicked a stray lock of hair out of her puffy, over-eyelined eyes. "Somebody asked me if I was Wake-pee Pooter's roommate. Then they asked if you had to personally ask the maid to hand-wash your sheets every night. I got sick of it so I skipped. Besides, there are only so many times you can listen to Penn State Paul not to touch the handmade curtain."
Wakeley smirked at her roommate. "Way to go, Shannon. I never would have imagined you skipping class a month ago."
"Oh, well, you know," Shannon muttered, her cheeks colouring slightly as she handed Wakeley her creamice and plopped down on an adjacent chair.
"I just don't know what I'm going to do," Wakeley sighed, snapping her binders and notebooks shut. The Host was the boringest book she had ever read. Hopefully she could pick up some wi-fi and Wikipedia the rest of the thick novel.
"Puh-lease, Wakeley. You're a smart girl. Isn't there something you could do at Grand Cayman? We pull in on Thursday. What about Canada? Have you talked to him lately?"
"I don't know what Blondie's been telling him and I am not about to take that risk. Besides, knowing her, she's already planned something to do to me at Grand Cayman." Wakeley's glossy lips puffed out into a pout.
"What about…" Shannon's squinty brown eyes scanned the library. "Oh. Em. Gee. Duhs! Cassidy Nemick!"
"Cassidy who?" Wakeley inquired, silently wondering where Shannon was going with this. Shannon, not discreetly, was now pointing out a skinny girl about Wakeley's height with a bedhead mess of towhead blond hair who was currently hunched over her assignment at a nearby table.
"Cassidy Nemick. Blondie's little sister. She's in the eighth grade. She's supposedly the fifth member of the DSL Daters but she mostly goes incognito. Apparently Blondie is super anal about her sister. You know that kid Eric? In your swim class? He was like, banned from Truth or Dare and kicked out of the Chosen Ones when he dared Michael to kiss Cassidy last year. And you know how Michael is."
"So what does this have to do with getting Blondie back for making me look like I peed myself?"
"Um, hello! She's Blondie's sister! Give the girl whatever she wants and you'll probably get bucketloads of information in return."
Wakeley tapped a finger against her uber-white teeth, contemplating this new idea. She closed her baby blue eyes, honing her eighth grade self. There were only two things that Wakeley wanted last year: the populars' trust in her and a certain boy.
Of course. The best way to get to this girl was through her heart.
While Blondie was wildly, intimidatingly popular, Cassidy seemed to be a bit of a loner. Wakeley watched her from behind aviator-clad eyes as the quiet girl found a secluded two-seater in the Windjammer Café, her only lunch being a chocolate-and-vanilla swirl soft-serve ice cream. Wakeley peered at the girl more closely. Food choices were key in figuring out a person. If somebody like, say, Shannon opted for a sugared treat for lunch that meant she was a fatty, no going around it. If somebody like Shannon were to eat a salad for lunch, that meant she wanted to drop ten pounds. If somebody like Heather Fitch, the one who had gotten her sent to this school in the first place, were to eat a salad for lunch, it meant she was one of those bimbos who saw fat where there was none. But Cassidy, with her gangly arms and sticklike legs, was devouring that ice cream, which meant that she, much like her sister, did not give a crap about what others thought of her.
Wakeley straightened up from behind the palm tree-like plant she had been hiding behind and began to weave her way through the tables, ignoring jeers of "Forget your diaper bag, Wake-pee?" She finally reached Cassidy's table. The littlest Nemick paid no attention to her visitor, instead staring dreamily out the big picture window out onto the choppy blue waters below.
Wakeley cleared her throat. "Hey, Cassidy, right?" The girl whipped her head around, eyed Wakeley from head to toe, and then nodded.
"I'm Wakeley Porter. I'm kind of a friend of your sister's."
"Devin doesn't have friends," Cassidy stated. "She has followers. And boyfriends."
Wakeley rolled her eyes (it was becoming a habit of hers) and plopped down in the seat across from Cassidy. "Okay, I'm your sister's worst enemy. Is that her real name? Devin?"
"Devin Nicole Nemick," Cassidy confided, smiling slightly. "What exactly brings you here, Wakeley?"
"You may or may not have heard, but a few days ago at the Solarium pool Blondie made it look like I had accidentally peed myself. I know, really stupid, but everyone believed her. So I was wondering…if you do something for me that will help me teach your sister that she just can't do stuff like that to people, then I can do something for you in return."
"Like what?" Cassidy inquired, suspicious.
"I know a lot of guys," said Wakeley, hoping that Cassidy would take the bait.
Cassidy pursed her full lips. "Guys like…like ones in my sister's chosen circle, for instance?"
"Exactly," Wakeley confirmed, sliding off her sunglasses and throwing in a coy wink for good measure. She'd let the girl have Canada for the night if that's what it took to put Blondie in her place.
Cassidy sighed. "You must know Max then, right?"
Wakeley's mouth dropped open a little. Max? The quiet one? Who rarely, if ever, got promiscuous dares? "Uh, yeah."
"Omigod," Cassidy gasped, almost dropping the last of her ice cream cone. "He. Is. So. Hot. I would do anything, I swear, if I could get back into my sister's Truth or Dare games and he was dared to kiss me. That would be, like, awesometasticness."
"I can so make that happen," Wakeley declared, amazed that Cassidy had 'fessed up so easily. "I would just have to somehow get your sister out of the way. Do you know anything that would, like, embarrass her enough to keep her in her cabin for the night?"
Cassidy paused, commiserating. "Well…she does get really upset sometimes…about her hair."
Wakeley cocked her head in confusion.
Cassidy took a deep breath. "Devin isn't a real blonde. Her hair used to be kind of a light brown, but she convinced our mom to let her get highlights. Pretty soon she learned how to highlight her hair herself and combined with the amount of sun she gets on the ship, she's almost a real blonde. But she has to re-dye her hair every two weeks to keep her colour up."
Wakeley could have hugged this girl. Why, oh why did she never think of this before? "Do you know what time she usually re-highlights her hair?"
"Tuesday nights," Cassidy instantly confirmed. "She keeps her dye in my room. And my roommate's almost never there. She's, ah, one of Michael's hot tub buddies."
Wakeley raised one eyebrow but said nothing. The gears in her head were slowly clicking. She had packed her hair dye with her—she, too, had to do a maintenance check on her rebellious purple hair streak every two weeks—and if she just happened to sneak a purple drop or two into Blondie's highlighting kit, that might just spell a big enough disaster to get everyone gossiping about her, not Wakeley.
"Well, Cassidy," said Wakeley, smiling at her new acquaintance. "I might just have to pay a visit to you this Tuesday night. What time works for you?"
The heavy door to Cassidy's Deck Seven dorm flew open before Wakeley could raise a recently tanned hand to knock on it. Cassidy's room looked much like her own, only much dirtier.
"Hello!" Cassidy chirped, dragging Wakeley into the room. "I always fix up the blonding cream for her, so whatever you need to do to it, go right on ahead. I set it up in the bathroom."
"'Kay," Wakeley replied as she skipped into Cassidy's equally tiny bathroom. Wakeley let out a tiny sigh of relief upon seeing that Blondie's blonding cream was not white, but more of a murky dark color. Nobody would notice the squirt of purple she was about to put in.
"By the way," Wakeley poked her head out of the bathroom. "Why are you letting me do this? I mean, it's your sister!" As much as she loved pulling these stunts and pranks, her good-girl ways always ended up returning to her in the form of guilt.
Cassidy glanced up from the Pokemon episode she was watching. "Yeah, it's my sister. But when my sister's around, I don't get to do anything fun. And besides, I don't have a lot of friends. If I get back in with the Red Wine and Sudoku Society and Leslie, I'm like, set for life."
Wakeley gave the girl a small smile. At least one of the Nemick sisters had her heart in the right place.
Suddenly, Cassidy's phone buzzed.
"Omigod," Cassidy gasped. "You've got to get out of here now. Devin's on her way."
Wakeley nodded and grabbed her dye, hastily shoving it into a Boutiques of Centrum bag she found on the floor. After a moment's hesitation, she leaned in and gave Cassidy a hug.
"I'll be in touch with you ASAP, I pinky swear. You and Max are going to be amazingly cute together."
"I trust you," was all Cassidy said before Wakeley bolted out of her room, rushing for the elevators.
Instead of hiding out among her slightly dorkier peers, Wakeley marched straight up to her friend's circle of chairs the next day in her Advanced Science of Ports of Call class. Schuyler raised her eyebrows, Meg and Renee tittered, Kathryn and Nicole gave her happy, wide grins, and Canada jumped up to give her a welcoming hug.
"Hey! Where have you been the past few days? It's so boring at Truth or Dare without you," Michael greeted her.
"Oh, you know," Wakeley waved her hand, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible when her insides were buzzing. "Avoiding the rumours and all that."
"Rumours?" Meg inquired.
"You didn't honestly think that I really peed myself at the Solarium, did you?" Wakeley gasped, feigning shock. "Puh-lease. That was such a set-up. Does Blondie really lie to you like this all the time?"
Meg and Renee squirmed in their seats. Schuyler just rolled her eyes.
"Speaking of," Kathryn murmured. "Where is Blondie?"
Nicole frowned. "I think that's her."
The nine of them slowly turned their heads to stare at the girl currently sneaking into the Viking Crown Lounge. It certainly looked like Blondie—she was sporting her signature Juicy Couture shades—but with major wardrobe changes. Instead of an all-bearing tank top and teensy Nike running shorts, this girl was sporting a pair of ratty light wash Abercrombie jeans with a navy Pueblo County High School hoodie. Her hair was stuffed under a white Rhapsody Academy of the Seas cap. Not a single strand poked out.
"Miss Nemick, glad to see that you could finally make it," Mr. Chetty grimaced at the lanky girl. Indeed, it was Blondie. "But really, you know the rules. Take off the shades and the cap. We're inside."
Blondie plopped down onto a chair just outside of her friends' circle and slowly pulled off the shades. She hesitated a moment or two, and then pulled off the cap.
Her precious blonde locks were now an odd combination of faded-out purple and mousy brown. Nobody else said a word.
"Ah, well then, Miss Nemick. I suppose you can put the cap back on," Mr. Chetty announced.
"That's what I thought," Blondie whispered.
Cassidy made her way to her normal table in the Windjammer Café for lunch. Only this time, she wasn't alone at her table. A purple envelope was resting atop her two-seater table.
Truth or Dare
'The Spot' at the front of the ship
No Blondies allowed (;
Cassidy glanced up, staring around the Café as she tried to pinpoint who exactly had left her the note. A flash of strawberry blonde hair caught her eye before disappearing out the automatic doors.