Katie and the Cupcake War CHAPTER 1 You Are Not Going to Believe This!
Mia! Is it really you? I haven’t seen you in a gazillion years!” I cried, hugging my friend.
Mia laughed. “Katie, I was only gone for, like, four days,” she said.
“That is four days, ninety-six hours, or five thousand, seven hundred, and sixty minutes,” I said. Then I dramatically put my hand over my heart. “I know, because I counted them all.”
“I missed you too,” Mia said. “But you couldn’t have missed me too much. You were trying out new recipes with the techniques you learned at cooking camp, weren’t you?”
“Yes,” I told her, “but it felt like you were gone forever. I almost didn’t recognize you!”
Actually, I was kidding. Mia looked pretty much
the same, with her straight black hair and dark eyes. She might have gotten a little bit tanner from her long weekend at the beach. She was wearing white shorts and a white tank top with a picture of a pink cupcake on it.
“Hey, I just noticed your shirt!” I said. “That’s so cool!”
Mia smiled. “I made it at camp. One of the counselors there was totally into fashion, and she showed me how do this computer thing where you can turn your drawing into a T-shirt design.”
I was definitely impressed. “You drew that? It’s awesome.”
“Thanks,” Mia said. “I was thinking maybe I could make T-shirts for the Cupcake Club, for when we go on jobs. You know, so we could all dress alike.”
Now it was my turn to laugh. We all like to bake cupcakes, but when it comes to fashion, the members of the Cupcake Club don’t have much in common. “Well, I know we all wore matching sweatshirts when we won our first baking contest,” I said. “But that was a special occasion. I don’t know if you could create one T-shirt we would all be happy wearing on a semiregular basis.”
Then the doorbell rang. It was Emma and
Alexis, and what they were wearing proved my point. Emma is a real “girlie girl,” although I don’t mean that in a bad way, it just describes Emma really well. Pink is her favorite color, and I don’t blame her, because pink looks really nice on you when you have blond hair and blue eyes like Emma does. She wore a pink sundress with tiny white flowers on it and pink flip-flops to match her dress.
Alexis had her curly red hair pulled back in a scrunchie, and she wore a light blue tennis shirt and jean shorts with white sneakers. And I might as well tell you what I was wearing: a yellow T-shirt from my cooking camp signed by all the kids who went there, ripped jeans with iron-on patches, and bare feet, because I was in my house, after all. Oh, and I painted each of my toenails a different color when I was bored.
“Mia! I missed you!” Emma cried, giving Mia a hug.
“So how was your first vacation with your mom, Eddie, and Dan?” Alexis asked. Eddie and Dan are Mia’s stepdad and stepbrother, respectively.
“Pretty good,” Mia replied. “The beach house was nice, and we got to play a lot of volleyball. And the boardwalk food was delicious.”
“That reminds me,” I said. “Follow me to the kitchen, guys.”
My cooking camp experience had inspired me to surprise my friends for our Cupcake Club meeting. I had covered the kitchen table with my favorite tablecloth, a yellow one with orange and red flowers with green leaves. (Mom says she needs to wear sunglasses to eat when we use it, but I love the bright colors. Plus, they reminded me of the colors of Mexico, and it matched all the food I had made.)
Laid out on the table was a bowl of bright green guacamole, a platter of enchiladas with red sauce on top, homemade tortilla chips, a pitcher of fresh lemonade, and a plate of tiny cupcakes, each one topped with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon.
My friends gasped, and I felt really proud.
“Katie, this looks amazingly fantastic!” Mia said. “Did you make all this yourself?”
I nodded. “We had Mexican day in cooking camp, and I learned how to do all this stuff,” I said. I pointed to the mini cupcakes. “Those are tres leches cupcakes.”
“Three milks,” Mia translated. “Those are sweet and delicious. My abuela makes a tres leches
cake when somebody has a birthday.”
I nodded. “Emma, I thought they might be good for the bridal shop.”
One of the Cupcake Club’s biggest clients is the The Special Day bridal shop. We make mini cupcakes that they give to their customers, and the only requirement is that the frosting has to be white. Emma usually helps delivers them. She has even modeled the bridesmaids dresses at the bridal shop too. (I told you she was a girlie girl.)
“They look perfect!” Emma agreed. “So pretty. And I bet they taste as good as they look.”
“Then let’s start eating so you can find out,” I suggested. “I think the enchiladas are getting cold.”
Then my mom walked into the kitchen. She has brown hair, like me, but hers is curly, and today it was all messy. She looked tired, but I thought maybe it was because she had patients all morning. She’s a dentist and has to work a lot.
“Oh, girls, you’re here!” she said. “Alexis, how was your trip to the shore?”
“Actually, Mia’s the one who went to beach,” Alexis answered politely. “But thanks for asking.”
Mom blushed. “Sorry, girls. I’m exhausted. My head feels like it’s full of spaghetti today.”
“That’s okay, Mrs. Brown,” Mia said. “I had a good time.”
Then the phone rang. “That’s probably your grandmother,” Mom said to me. “Come find me if you need anything, okay?”
“Shmpf,” I replied. Actually, I was saying “sure,” but my mouth was full of guacamole.
Alexis took a chip and dipped it in the guacamole.
“Wow, that’s really good,” she remarked when she was done chewing. (Unlike me, Alexis doesn’t ever talk with her mouth full.)
“Thanks,” I said. “Guacamole is my new favorite food. I could eat it all day. Guacamole on pancakes, guacamole pizza for dinner . . .”
“Guacamole-and-jelly sandwiches for lunch,” Mia said, giggling.
“Gross!” Emma squealed.
“I think I’ll stick to guacamole and chips,” Alexis said matter-of-factly. Then she wiped her hands on a napkin and opened up her notebook. Alexis loves to get down to business at a Cupcake Club meeting.
“Okay. So, I was looking at our client list,” she began. “The only thing on our schedule this fall is our usual gig at The Special Day. We need to drum
up some new business. I was thinking that we could send out a postcard to everyone who’s ever ordered cupcakes from us. You know, something like ‘Summer’s Over, and Cupcake Season Has Started.’”
“I like it,” I said. Emma and Mia nodded in agreement.
“That reminds me,” Mia said, pointing to her shirt. “I designed this. I could make a T-shirt for each of us. I thought we could wear them when we go on jobs.”
“Oh, it’s so cute!” Emma said. “Could my shirt be pink?”
Mia smiled. “I guess so. We could each have a different color shirt if we want. Unless you want it to be more like a uniform.”
“Or we could expand our business and sell the T-shirts, too,” Alexis said, sounding excited. “I bet we could find a site online where we could get the shirts made cheaply, and sell them for a profit.”
Mia frowned a little bit. “I don’t know, Alexis. I was thinking these should just be for us, you know? Special.”
“But you want to be a fashion designer, don’t you?” Alexis asked. “This could be the start of your business. Mia’s Cupcake Clothing!”
Mia looked thoughtful, and I couldn’t tell if she liked the idea or not. I decided to change the subject. If Mia decided she was interested, she’d bring up the idea again. Sometimes Alexis can get a little pushy when she wants the club to do something. Which is mostly good, because otherwise we’d never get anything done.
“Wow, I can’t believe school is starting so soon.” Then I said with a nod to Emma and Alexis, “Though what I really still can’t believe is Sydney’s singing routine at your day camp’s talent show. It’s in my nightmares.”
When I first started middle school last year, Sydney Whitman made my life miserable. So I didn’t feel bad about making fun of her—well, not too bad, anyway. My grandma Carole says that two wrongs don’t make a right, and she’s got a point. But Sydney really made my life miserable.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you!” Emma said. “I have big news. Huge! You guys are not going to believe this!”
“Tell us what?” I asked.
“It’s about Sydney,” Emma said. “Sydney’s mom returned a bunch of library books and told my mom that they were moving—to California!”
“No WAY!” I cried, jumping out of my chair. “Are you serious?”
Emma nodded. “I’m pretty sure they moved already. Sydney’s dad got transferred to some company in San Diego or something. Sydney’s mom said they had to move immediately for Sydney to start school there on time.”
I started jumping up and down and waving my hands in the air.
“Look out, everyone. Katie’s doing her happy dance,” Mia said.
“This is awesome! Amazing! Stupendous! Wonderful! Did I say awesome?” I cried. “No more Sydney! No more Popular Girls Club to ruin our lives!”
“Well, actually, I’m sure the PGC will continue,” Alexis replied. “They’ve still got Maggie and Bella and Callie. I bet Callie will become their new leader.”
I felt like a balloon that somebody just popped. One of the reasons Sydney made my life miserable last year was because she took my best friend, Callie, away from me. Yes, I know that nobody forced Callie to dump me and become a member of the PGC. But it was always easier to blame Sydney than to get mad at Callie. Callie and I
have been friends since we were babies.
Oh, and the Popular Girls Club is just what it sounds like. It’s a club Sydney started where they invite popular girls to join. They do everything together. I started to get so mad just thinking about it, then I realized Mia was talking to me.
“So Callie didn’t mention any of this to you?” Mia asked.
“No!” I said, feeling a little exasperated. “I mean, I barely talk to her anymore.”
I know I shouldn’t get so freaked out about Callie. If she hadn’t dumped me, I probably never would have become friends with Mia, Emma, and Alexis. There would be no Cupcake Club. But something happened to Callie when she got into middle school. Sometimes she could be not so nice. So it was probably for the best that we weren’t friends. We saw each other when our families got together—our moms are best friends, and, yes, that gets really weird—but that was about it.
Anyway, I must admit, there was a little part of me that hoped, now that Sydney was gone, that Callie would be friends with me again. I imagined her showing up at the front door.
Oh, Katie, I have treated you so badly, she would say. Can I please join your Cupcake Club?
Of course, I would say, trying to be the better person. I forgive you, Callie.
Then again, that would make things pretty confusing, because Mia was my best friend now, and I’m not sure how this would all work. Now my head felt like it was full of spaghetti. (Although I would never say that out loud, because that is such a weird mom thing to say.)
“Earth to Katie,” Mia said. “You there?”
I snapped myself out of my fantasy. “Sorry. I must be in a guacamole haze,” I said, taking my seat. “Okay. Enough about the PGC. Let’s get down to business.”
Maybe Alexis had the right idea after all.