Mia’s boiling point
CHAPTER 1 A Middle School Miracle?
Oh my gosh, it’s a cupcake plunger!” my friend Katie squealed.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Katie so excited. We were in a shop in the mall called Baker’s Hollow. They sell baking supplies, and inside are all these fake trees with built-in shelves and the supplies are displayed on them.
Katie and I were at the cupcake tree, which has pretty, fake pink cupcakes “growing” in its fake branches. The shelves are filled with cupcake baking pans, cupcake decorations, and tons of different kinds of cupcake liners.
Katie was holding up a metal tube with a purple top on it. She pulled on the top, and it moved up and down, like a plunger.
“This is so cool!” she cried. “You stick this in the top of the cupcake and plunge down halfway, and a perfect little tube of cake comes out. Then you fill the hole with stuff and then put the cake back on top and frost it. Just imagine what you could put in here! Whipped cream! Pudding!”
She turned to me, and her brown eyes were shining with excitement. “You could even do ice cream! Can you imagine biting into a cupcake and there’s ice cream inside? How awesome would that be?”
“Totally awesome,” I agreed. “Plus, it’s purple. Your favorite color.”
Katie dug into her pocket, took out some crumpled bills, and started to count.
“It’s only six dollars. I could get it and still have enough left over for a smoothie,” she said, and then she sighed. “I am so glad they opened this store, but I am going to go broke spending all my money on cupcake supplies. I’m obsessed!”
“I know how you feel,” I said. “I am totally obsessed with shoes lately. I’m trying to find the perfect pair of neutral heels. I want them dressy, but not too dressy—maybe a shiny patent leather, with a high heel. But not too high. I don’t want to fall flat on my face! I can picture them in my
mind, but I haven’t seen them anywhere for real yet.”
Katie looked down at her sneakers, which were decorated with rainbows drawn on with Magic Marker. “I don’t think I’ll ever wear heels. They’re too uncomfortable.”
That’s the difference between Katie and me—she doesn’t care about fashion at all, and I pretty much live for it. Today, for instance, Katie was wearing a purple hoodie, jeans, and sneakers. Which is perfectly adorable on her, but not dressed up enough for me. You never know who you could run into at the mall! So I had on skinny black jeans, my furry black boots, a white lace cami, and a sky-blue cardigan on top. The beads in my hoop earrings matched my cardigan, and the boho style of the earrings worked perfectly with my boots.
But even though Katie doesn’t care much about fashion, she’s my best friend here in Maple Grove. I moved here a year ago after my parents got divorced. Katie was the first friend I met.
“Okay, I’d better get on line before I buy something else,” she told me.
A few minutes later we left the shop, and Katie was happily holding an adorable little paper shopping bag with a picture of a cupcake tree on it.
“That’s such a great logo,” I said. “I wish I had thought of that for the Cupcake Club.”
“I bet you could think of an even better logo if you wanted to,” Katie said.
That made me feel pretty good. I love to draw and would love to be a fashion designer or maybe a graphic designer one day. Or maybe one of those designers who does displays in store windows in Manhattan. How cool would that be?
As we walked toward the smoothie shop, the smell of chocolate distracted us. Katie and I didn’t even need to discuss it. We walked right into Adele’s Chocolates and headed for the counter.
This is a “must-go-to” shop at the mall. Adele makes all the chocolates herself, and the flavors are amazing.
“Mmm, look,” I said, pointing to a glistening morsel of chocolate in a gold paper cup. “Salted caramel. That sounds so good.”
Katie pointed to a piece of dark chocolate sitting in a pale purple cup. “Dark chocolate infused with lavender. I wonder what that tastes like?”
“That would make a good cupcake,” I said, and Katie nodded. We talk about cupcakes a lot because we’re in the Cupcake Club with our friends Alexis and Emma. It’s a real business. People hire us to
bake for their parties and other events.
Katie had a pained look on her face. “Soooo tempting. But I think I really need some smoothie energy right about now. Mom says chocolate makes me loopy.”
I grabbed Katie’s arm and pretended to drag her out of the store. “Resist! Resist!” I said, and we both started laughing like crazy.
“We should go right to the smoothie place,” I said when we calmed down. “No more distractions.”
“Right,” Katie said. She stood up straight, like a soldier, and saluted. “To the smoothie place!”
It was Saturday, so the mall was pretty crowded as we made our way to Smoothie Paradise. I used to hate the mall when I first moved here, because I was so used to shopping in New York City. But now I like it. It’s never too hot or too cold, and when I’m done shopping I just have to carry the bags outside to Mom’s car. It’s definitely a lot easier than toting things home on the subway.
Even though the mall was full of people, the line at Smoothie Paradise was pretty short. Katie and I each ordered the same thing—a smoothie with mango and passion fruit—and then sat down at a small round table in the corner.
“This is my favorite kind of day,” Katie said after taking a long slurp from her straw. “I got all my homework done last night, so I don’t have anything to worry about.”
I nodded. “Me too.”
Katie sat back in her chair. “You know, middle school isn’t so bad so far. I mean, it’s not perfect, but I think it’s easier this year.”
“Definitely,” I agreed. “It’s, like, we know our way around. And besides school, other things are easier too. Like living with Eddie and Dan. That’s not so weird anymore.”
Eddie is my stepdad, and Dan is my stepbrother. They’re both pretty nice.
“Is it getting any easier living in two different apartments?” Katie asked.
I thought about it for a minute. “Yeah, kind of,” I admitted. “But mostly when I go to my dad’s, I feel like I’m visiting.” I basically go out to New York to see my dad every other weekend.
“You must miss him,” Katie said.
I wasn’t sure how to answer that. Katie’s parents are divorced too, and she never sees her dad. He remarried, and I think he even has a whole new family. So as tough as my situation is, I think Katie’s is even tougher.
I decided to be honest. “Sometimes I miss him,” I said. “But he texts me and Skypes me and stuff during the week. So he’s there if I need him.”
Katie got a little quiet after I said that, so I changed the subject.
“We should go to Icon after this,” I said. Katie knows that’s my favorite clothing store. “They sell shoes there, too. Maybe they have my perfect heels.”
We left the shop and headed for Icon. It’s easy to find because you can hear techno music blasting from it even when the mall is noisy. The decor is really sleek and clean, with white walls and gleaming silver racks. I like it that way because the clothes are really highlighted.
That day I walked right past the clothes and headed straight for the shoes, which were displayed on white blocks sticking out of the back wall. They had chunky heels, wedge heels, and spike heels, but the perfect shoe, the one I could picture in my head, wasn’t there.
While I was looking at all the shoes, Katie was giggling and wobbling in a pair of superhigh silver heels. I suddenly heard a familiar voice behind us.
“Hi, Mia. Hi, Katie.”
It was Callie Wilson, Katie’s former best friend and the leader of the Best Friends Club, which used
to be the Popular Girls Club. Things have always been pretty tense between the Cupcake Club and the BFC. A lot of it had to do with Katie and Callie’s broken friendship. But recently, they kind of patched things up, and so today Callie was smiling and friendly.
Katie, on the other hand, looked a little startled. She quickly slipped out of the silver heels, embarrassed.
“Oh, hey, Callie,” Katie said.
“Hi,” I added.
Maggie and Bella, the other two girls in the BFC, walked up behind Callie. Maggie has wild hair and can be pretty funny when she wants to be—and pretty mean, too. Bella is the quietest of the three. She’s super into those vampire movies—like, so into them that she changed her name from Brenda to Bella, and she straightens her auburn hair to look just like the girl who loves the vampire.
“Shopping for shoes?” Callie asked, even though it was pretty obvious. I guess she was trying to make conversation.
“I’m trying to find the perfect pair of heels,” I said. “But I think they only exist in my head.”
“Ooh, I saw this adorable pair online,” Maggie said. She whipped out her smartphone and started
typing on the keyboard. Then she shoved the screen in front of my face. “See?”
“Those are totally cute, but the ones I’m dreaming of have a pointier toe,” I told her. “But thanks!”
“Did you guys see those new wrap dresses they got in?” Callie asked. “Katie, there’s a purple one that would look so cute on you.”
“We’ll definitely check them out,” I replied.
“Yeah,” Katie added.
Callie gave a little wave and then flipped her long, blond hair over her shoulder. “Okay, we’ve got to go. Later.”
She walked away, and Bella and Maggie followed her. Katie and I stared at each other in shock.
“Did that just actually happen?” Katie asked.
“You mean, did we actually just have a normal conversation with the BFC, with no name-calling or teasing? Yes!” I replied.
Katie grinned. “It’s a middle school miracle!”