Mackenzie blue, p.1

Mackenzie Blue, page 1

 

Mackenzie Blue
 


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Mackenzie Blue


  Mackenzie Blue

  By

  Tina Wells

  Illustrations by Michael Segawa

  In memory of my grandparents,

  Loretta Mae Waters & Felder Featherstone Moragne

  For Zoey & Azairea Bronson

  Contents

  1

  First Day Blues

  2

  A Sour Note

  3

  The New Girl

  4

  (Not So) Hot Lunch

  5

  Missing!

  6

  The Message

  7

  Rock-and-Roll Teacher

  8

  Party Time

  9

  Text Trouble

  10

  Teacher Feature

  11

  Yes No

  12

  Student Teacher

  13

  Detective Disaster

  14

  The Diary Thief

  15

  The Apology

  16

  True Friends

  17

  High Note

  18

  The Audition

  19

  The Band

  Online Glossary

  Acknowledgments

  About the Author

  Credits

  Copyright

  About the Publisher

  1

  First Day Blues

  Hi, Diary,

  Today I’m kind of blue. Not blue as in Mackenzie Blue, which I always am. (Ugh! I can’t believe I just made that joke.) This kind of blue is so not even funny. Not even a little.

  First, my BFF Ally moves ALL THE WAY to PARIS, which is incredibly great for her. Who wouldn’t want to live in France? The French have the most fabulous food, très chic fashion, and THE CUTEST guys. (Oooo la la!) Mom says Ally’s move could be good for me, too. I’m not sure.

  A ding! from Mackenzie Blue Carmichael’s computer interrupted her. She slipped her diary and pen off her lap and rushed over to her desk. Awesome! An IM from Ally!

  SPARKLEGRRL: R u there?

  Zee typed quickly.

  E-ZEE: Yes. I was just thinking of u!

  SPARKLEGRRL: Help! I h8 school!

  E-ZEE: What’s wrong??!

  SPARKLEGRRL: Everything. I can’t sleep. No 1 here wants 2 talk 2 me. Maybe it’s because I have NO idea how 2 dress like a French person. Did u know they have a thing against sneakers here?

  E-ZEE: Making friends isn’t easy, especially in a new country!

  So true. Zee became great friends with Jasper Chapman after he moved to Brookdale from London, England, over the summer. Jasper told Zee he had been lonely before he met her at the pool. Even with Jasper, Zee still missed Ally. They had been best friends and had gone to Brookdale Academy’s lower school since preschool. And Zee needed Ally more than ever now that she was a seventh grader in Brookdale Academy’s upper school—in a different building with different teachers.

  E-ZEE: I m nervous about my 1st day of school 2.

  SPARKLEGRRL: Y?

  E-ZEE: What if I can’t find my way around? What if I 4get my locker combo? What if my life ends bc all I have time 4 is homework?

  SPARKLEGRRL: I know how u feel. I got lost AND 4 got my combo. No hw yet tho.

  E-ZEE: Ugh! Being a 7th grader in Upper is like being a kindergartner in Lower. U r 1 of the little kids—except no 1 thinks u r cute.

  SPARKLEGRRL: At least you are not alone. Like me.

  E-ZEE: No, u r not. U have me. BFF!!!!

  Zee looked at the clock on her computer.

  E-ZEE: OMG! G2G! Time for school!

  SPARKLEGRRL: OK. LYLAS.

  Zee grabbed her diary and dropped it in the black book bag that she’d decorated with pink and yellow felt flower cutouts. I’ll finish writing in my diary on my way to school, she decided. As she walked downstairs, she texted Jasper on her Sidekick, which she’d covered with a bright blue skin that had a big pink Z in the middle.

  >Want 2 meet up outside b4 school?

  she typed on the keypad. Zee was new to the upper school, but Jasper was new to Brookdale Academy. He didn’t know his way around at all.

  His response came back right away.

  >Sure.

  I’m leaving now.

  C u soon.

  As Zee’s dad drove her to school, Zee began a list of what was good and bad about Ally’s living in France.

  Good

  1. I get to visit my BFF in France! (My parents already promised!)

  2. I’ll get a sneak peek at the newest French fashions before they come to LA!!

  3. She can teach me French, and we can talk “in code” when I don’t want my parents to know what I’m saying.

  Bad

  1. I’m miserable without my BFF here.

  2. Ally’s in a completely different time zone. What if I need her when she’s sleeping—or she needs me when I’m at school?

  3. What if Ally finds a new best friend in France?

  Unfortunately, thanks to that last “bad,” I think Mom might be wrong. Ally’s move is still AWFUL!!

  And then there’s my other big problem. But in this case, not so big. That’s what makes it a problem. You know how most girls my age start getting boobs? Well, my body has decided to put all its energy into adding freckles to my face instead.

  I probably just got three more freckles while I was writing that.

  Zee

  Zee closed her diary, slid the clasp into the latch, and put it back in her book bag. Then she looked out the SUV window.

  “Dad, you can just stop the car now!” she said a little louder and more panicked than she’d meant to.

  “But we’re still a block from school, Zee,” her father said. “I can’t just leave you here on your first day.”

  “But I want you to.” J.P. Carmichael’s right eyebrow rose up on his forehead, the way it always did when he was suspicious. “Why?” he asked.

  “I don’t want you to go out of your way.”

  “It’s no problem,” Zee’s father said. “In fact, it’s easier for me to just turn around in the school’s drop-off circle.”

  Zee let out a deep sigh. “Dad, please stop the car.”

  Mr. Carmichael slowed down and steered to the curb. “Come on, Zee. What’s going on?” he asked.

  “It’s your car, Dad,” Zee explained. “It’s kind of embarrassing.” Zee had hoped to get a ride in her older brother’s sporty red subcompact, but as usual Adam had overslept and was still shoveling corn flakes into his mouth when she was ready to go.

  “You’re embarrassed to be seen in a brand-new SUV?” he asked. “Would you prefer an ancient clunker with duct tape holding on the bumper?”

  “What kind of gas mileage does the clunker get?” Zee asked.

  Mr. Carmichael put his hand on his daughter’s arm. “This isn’t about the car, sweetie. You’re just nervous about school. Don’t worry—it will practically be the same as last year.”

  “Well, last year it was still a green school. You know, save the planet and end global warming so that your children will actually be able to breathe without a gas mask when they get older?” She opened the door, slid out of her seat, and planted her orange Converse high-tops on the sidewalk.

  Mr. Carmichael sighed and ran his hand over the passenger seat. “But it’s soooo comfortable.”

  “Sorry, Dad. I have to protect the family’s reputation,” Zee told him.

  “But I am family.”

  “Yeah. And you’re kind of making the rest of us look bad.” She shut the door and gave her father a smile.

  Mr. Carmichael hit the button to lower the automatic window. “Have a great first day, honey,” he said.

  “Thanks, Dad,
Zee said, turning toward the school.

  She had taken only a couple of steps when she heard her father shout. “Hey, Mackenzie!” Zee’s dad called her by her full name only when he was working hard to stay calm.

  “Yes, Dad?” Zee said super-sweetly, spinning around and preparing for whatever was coming. Her father’s eyebrow was up again.

  “I think maybe the school gave you the wrong size uniform,” he said. “Your skirt seems a little short.”

  Zee didn’t bother to look down. She knew the exact length of her skirt. In the lower school, they had worn white blouses under blue plaid jumpers that hung nearly to their knees, but now that Zee was in seventh grade, she got to mix and match school-issued skirts, shirts, and sweaters. Although the pieces would never be trendy, they were way better than what she had had to wear to school before. And Zee planned to make the uniform—and herself—stand out. That meant wearing her sneakers, cool patterned socks, colorful beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that she’d made herself—and shortening her hem.

  “My skirt’s fine,” Zee said. “It just can’t be any higher than my fingertips.” She held her arms by her sides to demonstrate.

  Mr. Carmichael squinted. “I think you might be bending your elbows a little,” he said doubtfully.

  Sighing, Zee stood at attention and stretched her arms down as far as they would reach. “See, Dad? Nothing to worry about. Totally regulation length. Mom hemmed it herself.”

  “At ease, soldier.” Zee’s father blew her a kiss. “Company dismissed.”

  “See ya!” Zee shouted with a big wave. She stuck her earbuds in, turned up her iPod, and made her getaway down the block before he could think of something else.

  As Zee walked across the upper-school campus, she felt like an alien who had just landed on an unfamiliar planet (in her gas-guzzling spaceship). Sure, the upper-school kids were different, but it never mattered before. After all, they were the Others. Only, now she was one of them.

  As Zee looked around, though, she didn’t feel like one of them at all. For starters, she wore her red hair in a short bob. Most of the other girls had long blond or brown hair. Every single strand was perfectly in place and exactly the same length as the one right next to it. Sigh. How was she going to fit in here?

  Just as Zee was about to run screaming to the wig store to cover her head, she stopped herself. Hell-o, she said silently. What am I thinking? My red hair is what makes me Zee. If she wanted to stand out in the crowd, her hair was a great way to do it.

  Zee scanned the school grounds, looking for Jasper. He was nowhere to be seen, but Zee did spot another person she knew—Kathi Barney. Even though she was a seventh grader, Kathi was standing with a group of eighth-grade boys—which made sense since she was about four inches taller than most of the boys her age anyway. Zee had always suspected whoever invented the word popular was thinking of someone exactly like Kathi. Also, the word pretty. And perfect. Perfect skin. Perfect brown hair. Perfect clothes. Perfect student.

  Still, Zee decided not to go over to say hello—because Kathi had one imperfection. A big one. Her personality. Actually she had two personalities when it came to Zee—a nice one and a mean one. And the nice one came out only when she needed something.

  Kathi’s best friend, Jen Calverez, was right next to her. Jen was smaller than Kathi, with thick, wavy black hair. Jen was usually nice, and Zee wanted to say hi, but Jen was too close to Kathi at that moment. She might as well have been surrounded by yellow tape with DANGER: KEEP OUT printed all over. Zee stayed away.

  What do I do now? she wondered. Suddenly her phone rang. Jasper’s number lit up on the screen. Thank goodness!

  “Where are you?” Jasper asked in his British accent. “I’ve been looking everywhere.”

  Zee spotted a couple of juniors kissing as if their lips had been Krazy Glued together. From where she was standing, it looked like surgery might be the only way to get them apart. “I’m definitely not in Kansas anymore.”

  “Huh?”

  “Never mind,” Zee told Jasper. “I’m by the main entrance—near the giant palm tree.”

  “Don’t move,” Jasper said. “I’ll be there straightaway.”

  Great, Zee thought. There was only one thing worse than wandering around alone with no one to talk to—standing alone with no one to talk to. But she wasn’t going to abandon Jasper.

  Zee felt like the newest inductee into the Geek Hall of Fame, when suddenly a ninth-grade girl raced toward her. Zee remembered her from the lower school. Excellent! Someone she recognized who actually seemed excited to see her. Unfortunately Zee was spacing on the girl’s name. Lucy? Linda? Lorna?

  “Lana!” a voice behind Zee shouted.

  That’s it! Zee said to herself, delighted. She turned to see who had helped her out. Another girl was also running toward Zee. That’s when Zee realized they weren’t running to her at all. And they hadn’t noticed that they were going to make a Zee sandwich if someone didn’t move.

  Zee stepped backward—bam!—right into Landon Beck’s path! As she fell on to the ground, everything inside her bag spilled out. How could this be happening? Zee thought.

  Landon was the most amazing guy at Brookdale Academy. Zee had had a crush on Landon for forever. She’d secretly daydreamed about eating lunch and doing homework with him. And she’d super-secretly hoped that he might even be her first kiss one day. (Only Ally knew that.)

  “Hey, sorry,” Landon apologized. His long bangs moved back and forth over his right eye in an I-don’t-have-to-work-too-hard-to-look-this-good way. “I didn’t see you.”

  Zee wanted to say, No way was it your fault. I’m the one who fell into you. But Landon was hypnotizing Zee with his incredible blue eyes. All she could say was “Uhhh.”

  “Are you all right?” Landon asked, reaching out his hand to help Zee to her feet. Landon had spent the summer at surf camp. He was so tan next to her pale complexion.

  Say something good. Please, Zee silently begged herself. But that wasn’t going to happen. “Uhhh.”

  Then out of nowhere, another familiar voice cut in. “Zee, you should watch where you’re going,” Kathi said, pasting on a phony smile. “Unless you bumped into Landon on purpose.” Landon had been Kathi’s boyfriend on and off last year. Zee wasn’t sure if they were on—or off—now.

  “Are you hurt?” Jen asked.

  Before Zee could answer, Kathi said, “Whatev.” Then she glared at Zee behind Landon’s back and silently mouthed, “Back off!”

  As if, Zee thought. She felt her face turn red and worried that her skin would soon match the color of her hair from all of the embarrassment.

  Finally Jasper arrived. “What’s going on?” he asked. His white shirt was tucked into his dark blue uniform pants. The knot at the top of his blue tie formed a nearly perfect triangle, and the shoulders of his jacket were so straight you could have shelved books on them. His eyes, circled by silver wire-rim glasses, looked at Zee, at Landon, at the ground—anywhere but at Jen and Kathi—since Zee was just about the only girl who didn’t make him completely nervous.

  “I’ll tell you later,” Zee said. Desperate to get away, she waved her hand in the air at Jasper, the friends’ signal to start walking—fast.

  “Wait!” Landon called to Zee. “You forgot your book bag.”

  “Thanks,” Zee said, taking it. Would she be able to escape with even a tiny bit of cool left? She bent over and gathered the contents, quickly shoving everything in.

  Then Zee grabbed Jasper’s arm and started to drag him inside the school. “Let’s get out of here.”

  “Zee!” Landon shouted.

  “What now?” Zee moaned under her breath. “Do I have toilet paper on the bottom of my shoe?” She turned around.

  Landon wore the biggest, dimpliest smile. He pointed his cell phone at Zee and said, “Say cheese.” Zee gave him a huge grin and posed while he took a picture. “I’ll email it to you.”

  Tugging Jasper’s arm, Zee pulled
him into the building.

  “Hey!” Jasper protested. “You’ll wrinkle my jacket.”

  “Sorry,” she apologized, releasing her grip. “I just want to get out of here as fast as possible,” she explained.

  “What a daft way to start the year, huh?” Jasper said.

  “Oh, it was okay.” The cutest boy in school had a photo of her on his cell phone!

  2

  A Sour Note

  “Good morning and welcome to Brookdale Academy Upper School,” a cheerful woman said from the other side of a table covered with stacks of papers and boxes. “I’m Mrs. Sayles, the school secretary. And your name is…?”

  “Zee.” Mrs. Sayles smiled expectantly as if she were looking at a toddler trying to say her first words. Duh! “Sorry. Mackenzie.”

  The secretary just stared and waited. After a pause, she finally asked, “And what is your first name?”

  Zee snapped out of her own trance, shaking her head. “That is my first name.”

  “Okay. Mackenzie what?”

  “Mackenzie Blue,” she said matter-of-factly. Mrs. Sayles began flipping through some cards in a file box.

  “Carmichael,” Jasper added. “Mackenzie Blue Carmichael.”

  “Thanks,” Zee mouthed to her friend. She knew she had been nervous about the upper school, but she hadn’t realized how nervous. And falling down in front of everyone—including Kathi—definitely hadn’t helped.

  Mrs. Sayles pulled out a couple of cards and handed the first one to Zee. “Here’s your class schedule.”

 
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