I wish I can strut down the catwalk-- too bad the fashion world doesn't love hum-dum boring chubby girls like me. And damn my flat feet-- I can't wear heels without turning my face into a pancake. Still, I can't help but imagine what it would be like to be hot. Just for one day, to be in the beautiful shoes of a gorgeous supermodel.
Alyssa Rabinkaya walks down the runway. She's the most privileged senior of Uptown High. There's not one person in school who doesn't know Alyssa. Guys love her and girls want to be her. She's also the luckiest girl alive because she's the girlfriend of my best friend Kiterin Forrests. Kiterin stares at her with eyes like two perfectly round sky-blue marbles. I want to run my fingers through his messy brown hair and play connect-the-dots with his tawny freckles. Kiterin is everything to me. He smells like the ocean and talks like a smooth pop-star. Looks, talent, and a kind heart, he has it all. He's a modern day Prince Charming, without a castle, wealth, and a white stallion, but none of that matter when you're in love.
"Stop drooling already, Mina," Danni says, prodding my ribs gently. Danni flashes a mischievous grin as she wiggles her eyebrows. Everyone and their grandmas (with the exception of Kit, go figure) know I'm in love with Kit.
Danni shakes her head at me. I want to rub sandpaper over her smug face.
With the exception of small breasts and a thin waist, Danni Forrests is the splitting image of her twin Kit. She even dresses like Kit, but instead of the ocean, Danni always smells like bacon-burgers and fries. The girl stuffs her face like a hungry hyena with a hummingbird's metabolism and still manages to be stick-thin. I can't say Danni's pretty though because she chooses to be manly. Whereas Kit loves to paint, play the violin, visit museums, and read, Danni sweats buckets daily as Uptown High's basketball team MVP.
Danni wraps an arm around me and pulls me closer to her like an alpha male. She plants a loud kiss on my cheek.
"Eew, quit bugging me." I push Danni away and grin. "I've told you a million times I'm not interested. I'm trying to enjoy the show!"
Danni frowns, looking truly quote unquote heartbroken. "Fashion shows are over-rated. Especially when the main model is your brother's bimbo gal-pal and your brother practically bribed you into coming." Danni shrugs and yawns, stretching her long arms over her head.
Kiterin narrows his eyes and frowns. Danni sticks her tongue out at her brother. I sit back watch them bicker. I love the twins. They're popular, beautiful, and cool-- and they're hanging out with me, as cool as yesterday's stale bread Miss Mina Lin. I'm known in Uptown High as "that girl who hangs out with THE TWINS."
It's okay with me though. Popularity is over-rated. Besides, I always believed in one thing-- you don't need a lot of friends, just a few who are true and blue to you. Kit and Danni are so blue they can make clear skies green with envy.
I met them five years ago when they moved into the house next to mine. Well, I don't exactly live in a house. I live in a rented one-bedroom basement complex with my older sister Emi and my mom. Mom and Emi share a bunk-bed in the bedroom-- I sleep on the couch. When the twins moved into the neighborhood, I was twelve and my hormones were freshly developing. When I caught a glimpse of Kit's fine pecs, I suddenly realized I liked boys. Not just any boy though-- since then, my heart only beats for Kit.
I glance at Kit. His eyes sparkle as his pupils dilate. Alyssa's floating down
the catwalk again like an angel, with strawberry blond hair down to her perfect butt. She winks at Kit and I can hear his heart beat for her. It's not as loud as my own heart. Every time I'm next to Kit, I wonder why I don't get heart attacks. It's a good thing though, because if I become unconscious, I know Danni will be the first one to give me mouth-to-mouth. Sigh. I know Danni likes me, but that's nothing new. Danni likes anyone who breathes and has a pair of breasts. Mine aren't exactly spectacular though...
The show becomes tedious as more cookie-cutter models march down the stage. Even Danni looks a bit bored. Suddenly from behind us, a girl squeals. Then another girl squeals. Very soon, the whole auditorium erupts with stomping feet, clapping hands, swoon-squeals, and the screams of a thousand crazy girls.
"Jaiden! Oh my god, he's back!"
"What the hell..." I look around me and wonder if the world's going to end. Someone's going to get trampled. I grab Kit's arm. Kit searches with his eyes for Alyssa on the stage. She waves to him and disappears backstage with the rest of the models. Only then does Kit acknowledge my existence and uneasiness.
"Don't worry," he tells Danni and me, "just stay close."
We remain stationary as we watch the swarm of females flood to the exits.
An announcer breathes heavily over the central-intercom, as if he's about to faint.
"Please form neat lines by the exits. We need to be orderly so no one gets hurt. The Prince of the Uptown is going nowhere..."
"The Prince of the Uptown?" I scratch my head and can hardly hear myself anymore. "What is he, a pop-star?" I scream but Kit and Danni don't hear me. For ten minutes, we huddle closely together, watching every female pour out of the auditorium like hungry fire-ants rushing toward a meaty elephant.
"Let's go too," I say when the exits are no longer congested. Still holding Kit's arm tightly, I walk out with the twins. Outside, the crowd of females blocks the streets, many in the process of undressing like crazy fan-girls at a concert.
"Jaiden, I love you!"
"Jaiden! Welcome home!"
The sound of police and ambulance sirens fill my head. The girls drop like flies, fainting and swooning like drama-queens. All this for a person named Jaiden. I shake my head in disgust. It's just not healthy obsessing over a guy like this. I mean, it's one thing to have a bunch of pictures of a guy, his favorite shirt (stolen from him), to memorize his poetry, and to know his scent from a mile away (oh Kit I LOVE YOU), it's another thing to swoon, faint and trample other girls.
Danni points at a silver-white limousine cruising slowly down the street. Three elite-force Uptown police cars follow the limo. The limo stops in front of a hundred story building (yes I know how many floors the building has) and five seconds later, a big, bald, dark man with stylish shades removes himself from the driver's seat. He opens the passenger door. Out come three beautiful young socialites in matching pastel dress suits. They have the poise of princesses and the stamps of SPOILED-BRATS on their foreheads. They stick their noses high in the air and stand still, waiting for another person to step out of the limo.
I can hear girls suck in their breaths and stomachs. One girl falls to her knees next to me. She cries, "Oh my god, Jaiden…" I roll my eyes but can't help and keep my eyes on the limo.
The Jaiden fellow everyone's so excited about follows the three young ladies out, garbed in a stylish light-gray suit, dark navy shirt, and shades. With slicked back jet-black hair, a straight nose, tanned skin, and a tall athletic frame, the boy looks more like a mob-boss than a pop-star or celebrity. Or maybe he's a high class pimp... it would explain why he has three female companions. All the girls around us start rushing toward him, like they're about to strip him naked or grab his butt-cheeks. The big chauffeur plants himself in front of the pimp like a wall and looks like he's about to snap the girls' necks if they come any closer. Kit and I laugh.
"Who the heck is he? What's going on?" I ask the twins.
Kit shrugs. Danni clears her throat. "Oh come on guys. He's Jaiden Daniels, oil heir of Prunai-Pudai? CEO of Daniels Incorporated? No? How about 'The Unofficial Prince of the Uptown?'" Danni arches her brows. Then she rolls her eyes before laughing. "Don't worry guys, I don't know him either." She points at a newsstand, conveniently stationed to our left. Every magazine, newspaper and tabloid has similar headlines:
The Prince is Back.
Billionaire Prince Back in Town!
Prince of Uptown, Back from Prunai-Pudai.
The Graduated Prince.
The Most Eligible Bachelor is Back in Town!
And run to him now girls, trample others-- he's back, for the summer only!!! Get him now while he's hot!
I roll my eyes. Eew! So what if he has billions? So what if he's very TDH-- so very hackneyed tall dark and handsome material. He's probably barely human, with his nose high in the clouds. He probably thinks his fart smells like daisies. He probably thinks he can save the penguins and the ozone layer with money.
Suavely, he removes his shades to look at the crowd with his nose in the air. His eyes appear dark violet-blue, framed by soot lashes. Okay, so he has the awesome eyes. They can be contact lenses though. He rolls said eyes at the crowd and turns away, disappearing into the building behind him, Daniels Inc., with his harem and large bodyguard/chauffeur.
Kit faces me and pats my head. "Excitement's over. I'm going to find Alyssa. Why don't you guys go catch that chick flick you wanted to see?"
"Prince Pudai and I?" Danni sticks a finger in her mouth and pretends to gag. Then her expression does a complete three-sixty. She wriggles her eyebrows at me. "Why see the flick when the Prince of Pudai or Uptown is right here? Though if I get to be cozy with Min, I'll deal with the mushy stuff."
I stick out two fingers, threatening to poke out Danni's eyes.
"Oh come on, Danni, you know you love sappy romantic comedies." Kit chuckles. He waves at us. "Have fun."
I beam a smile at Kit. "Alright, we'll see you later then, Kit." When his back faces us, my smile fades and Danni punches my shoulder lightly.
"Give up already, Min." Danni sighs. "Kit and Alyssa are like Stupid and Stupider, perfect for each other. Just like you and me, except for the stupid part." Danni winks. Sometimes I wish I swing the same way as Danni. I would have the perfect girlfriend then-- even though sometimes Danni's the most perverted person I know... And she'll probably dump me the moment she finds a hotter girlfriend.
I fake a yawn. "I think I'll go home now, Dan. I'm tired."
"No date then?" Danni pouts and sighs like a deflating tire.
"It is your birthday, don't you want to celebrate?"
I shake my head. It's not everyday a girl turns eighteen, but it doesn't matter when the boy of your dreams doesn't even remember it. This is the first time Kit doesn't remember my birthday. He has a valid excuse though—his supermodel girlfriend walking down the runway as a pro for the first time.
Danni pats my head. "Fine. I'll walk you home."
As we leave the crowded Upper-Uptown streets, I swear, a handful of girls start scaling the Daniels Inc. building.