The Advice Avengers: two girls on a mission to give the best advice possible, no matter what. Corey is not looking forward to History Day at all, and then a mean girl gets put in her group. Can Corey stand up to Dharma when Dharma bullies her? Can Corey solve the mystery of the two Mr. Meows? Will she eat all the doughnuts at church before the service ends? Can she conquer her sleep-walking habits, or will she walk blindly into trouble? Will she outgrow her fear of monsters in the hallway, even though they really do exist? Will she pay attention to her mother or just tune her out and miss entire conversations? In Corey’s search for answers, she’ll ignore what’s right in front of her. Can she take a leap of faith? Maybe the truth has been in plain sight all along…
One excerpt, coming up…
I gasp. “I could get expelled for that! I… I don’t even know how to use a knife.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. I just can’t believe this. I don’t know what to—”
“Hey, there you are. Found you!” We jump. Emmett saunters in and sits perpendicular to me, dropping his unzipped backpack by his ankle.
“Oh, Emmett, I am so sorry,” Andi gushes. I think she’s still a little wound up. “I completely forgot that we were supposed to meet with you.”
“No worries.” He smiles at us broadly. “Oh, and I think I can help.” He winks at me. “You hold your fork in your left hand and cut the meat with your right hand.” Andi and I squint at him, not comprehending. “You were just saying how you don’t know how to use a knife,” he explains. “Well, that’s how you use one. Don’t worry. It just takes a little practice.”
He reaches into his backpack for his notebook and textbook, apparently oblivious to our stunned lack of response.
He smiles broadly and his perfect white teeth twinkle at me like a gold star. I blink hard. I must be seeing things. “So, how’s our research coming along?”
Andi passes her notebook to him. He spends a whole minute reading over her notes.
“Looks good.” He turns to me. “How about costuming? Have you and Dharma figured out what we’re going to wear for our presentation?”
I shake my head as Andi answers for me. “Dharma has dropped out of our group. We might need a few extra days to get the costume research done.”
Emmett turns to Andi, ignoring me. “What? Dharma can’t just dump us. Why would she do that?”
“She ran away from home,” I say, forcing my eyes to quit seeking out his teeth. “We don’t think she’s going to come around for a while.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” He may have just said those words, but his expression betrays him. He isn’t sorry at all. He doesn’t care.
“Are you and Dharma boyfriend and girlfriend?” Andi asks.
“No. We’re just friends. She’s always wanted to be more, but I’m not interested.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“She’s not my ideal woman.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Your ‘ideal woman?’ You have an ideal woman?”
He nods. “Yeah. Do you want to see her?”
“See who, Dharma?” I can’t hide my confusion. At least Andi looks confused too, so maybe I’m not being stupid again.
“No, not Dharma. My ideal woman, of course! Hold on a second. Scoot down.” Emmett and I both move one chair to the right so that he’s now seated next to me. He digs into his backpack and brandishes a professional portfolio. He flips it open and thumbs through the pages. I gather that he’s an artist of sorts. His medium is digital, computer-generated artwork.
Andi and I gaze at the intricate depiction of a beautiful blond who looks exactly like Dharma, only prettier. Plus, I don’t think that Dharma’s eyes are purple. Come to think of it, I don’t think that anyone’s eyes are purple. I don’t think anyone’s eyes have little sparkly stars in them, either.
“And here’s another one of her,” Emmett crows, turning the page. In this scene, the gorgeous, well-endowed blond is riding on horseback, wielding a lancet.
Andi struggles to view it upside-down, her head tilting. Emmett makes no effort to angle his portfolio toward her. “Emmett? What are those pointy things sticking out from her chest?”
Emmett smiles, and I immediately inspect his teeth. I’m sure it’s rude, but I can’t stop myself. Oh, he has a filling in the front. Maybe it hit the light a minute ago, and that made it sparkle? “She’s wearing a metal breastplate equipped with a double-D cup.”
I grimace. Andi tries to smile approvingly but it comes off all wrong when she realizes that she doesn’t approve after all. Emmett stashes his portfolio away, much like a medieval knight would sheath his sword. “It’s nothing personal, but Dharma just doesn’t fit the bill. I finally had to sit her down and tell her that.”
“You told her that she’s not your ideal woman?” I echo, finding this hard to believe. He nods. “When did this happen?”
“About a week ago, during our study hour. She always tags behind me to the same classroom for study skills. She enjoys perusing my portfolio. She thinks I’m an artistic prodigy. Why, what does it matter?”
Andi and I give exaggerated shrugs.
Andi rolls her eyes at me and sighs. “Come on, we may as well get some work done. Here are the books that I checked out.” She hands one to each of us. We work in silence for the rest of the hour.
When the bell rings, Emmett gathers his stuff and stands. “If you see Dharma, tell her I’ve created some new images that I think she’d like to see.”
“Are they of your ideal woman?” Andi asks. He nods and grins. His teeth twinkle again. I gape at him. How is that happening? There’s not enough light in this little room to reflect off his filling. Andi seems unaware of the twinkle. “By the way, does your ideal woman have a name?” she inquires.
He smiles. It’s like staring at the sun. I divert my eyes. “Thanks for asking. I love it when younger kids take an interest in my art. She does indeed have a name. Her name is Karma, the Amazing Equestrienne.”
As Emmett saunters off, Andi sticks her tongue out and points her finger into her mouth, indicating her strong desire to vomit.