Friday, April 18, 2008

SNEAK PREVIEW! Fashionistas: Candy!

I'm in deep hibernation mode as I try to get to the end of the never-ending first draft of my grown up novel, Unsticky.

The fourth and final book in the Fashionistas series, Candy, is out or is almost out or was stocked way too early by some bookshops. Whatever! Either way, here is a teaser to whet your appetites:

"I'm moving to London and that's all there is to it," Candy informed her mother who was clipping coupons.

"Is this about that boy who tried to do the kiss and tell, sweetie?" Bette cooed, putting a fifty cent coupon for cupcakes in the 'yes' pile. "I know that you've had your heart broken but what has London got that New York hasn't?"

"It doesn't have you in it," Candy wanted to say but she stuck to the lines she'd rehearsed in her head. "It's got nothing to do with that asswipe," she bit out, which was only half true. "I'm fed up with taking part in this freaking freakshow. God, I want to be halfway normal for a little bit so I want out!"

"If I ran off to London every time life let me down, I'd have dual nationality by now," Bette breathed. "C'mon, Candy Cane…"

"I've told you not to call me that..."

"…you're not a quitter. Stay in New York and we'll buy new shoes, go to The Waverly for brunch, anything you want, you'll soon be sunny smiles again."

"I've never been sunny smiles in my life," Candy snarled, because Bette was the most infuriating woman in the world when she was purposely not getting a clue. Actually, scratch that. She was the most infuriating woman in the world. Period. Candy glared at her half brother, Reed, who was here under duress and hadn't made eye contact with Bette yet. He really needed to get over the whole my-mother-left-me-and-my-father-when-I-was-five-to-run-off-with-a-degenerate-punk-icon thing.

Reed sighed. "I don't think this is the best place for Candy to be right now," he said, gesturing at the cluttered apartment, his gaze resting on one of the cats licking milk from Candy's half-finished bowl of cereal. "And I'll be in London to keep an eye on her." He sounded far too Big Brother-ish for Candy's liking. As if he wasn't just saying it to get her Mom off her back but like he was planning all sorts of fun things like curfews and rules.

"But you're just so young, baby girl," Bette breathed, eyes wide.

"I'm 16 and when you were my age, you were gallivanting around the world and being all model-ly and shit," Candy pointed out.

"And look how well that turned out," Reed muttered sotto voce but Candy wasn't done.

"I'm old enough to take care of myself," she burst out, her voice rising to a pitch that had Conceptua bustling in with a handful of laundry.

"She go to London, she miss school," she intoned darkly in her heavy Portuguese accent. "Then she stay out all night, start with the drinking, then the drugs. She be dead before 20." Conceptua was a big fan of the worst-case scenario. "I light a candle to pray for your immortal soul."

Candy rolled her eyes. Reed stared at his nails. Conceptua shoo-ed the cats off the laundry and Bette carried on clipping coupons that she was never going to use. She'd just put them on one of the many piles of crap in the apartment and they'd stay there for ever.

"God, I can't bear to live in this dump any longer," Candy snapped and she was halfway to flouncing out of the room when her father headed her off at the pass.

"Can't sleep with all this yelling," he mumbled, scratching his spiky black hair. He paused to pick up one of the cats and wrap a long, skinny arm around Candy, as Conceptua shot him a dark look.

"Is five in the afternoon. You should not be sleeping," she announced censoriously and speeded up with the folding; her gnarled fingers making light work of Candy's polka dot bed linen.

David Careless yawned. "Yeah, well, power nap," he said vaguely before his heavy lidded eyes rested on his only child. "What's bugging you, baby?"

There was no short answer to that question and just as Candy was trying to come up with a reply that wouldn't take several hours and about a hundred swear words, Bette beat her to it.

"Oh, Candy's having a hissy fit," she said lightly. "She wants to move to London to mend her broken heart."

"My heart is not…"

"Baby, that's so Henry James," David smirked. "Can't remember which book it was but they shipped the girl with the ruined rep back to the motherland. Or was it Edith Wharton?"

"I'm going to London," Candy said forcefully. "I am and that's all there is to it. If you're all down with the goddamn dead novelists, then you should be happy that Reed'll be there to act as a chaperone."

"Don't take the Lord's name in vain," Conceptua said automatically as Bette actually put down her scissors and looked at her estranged son in consternation.

"Reed, I can't believe that you put this idea in her head." Bette probably thought that she sounded all reproachful and dignified, but it actually came out really whiny.

"She came up with it all by herself." Reed shrugged and still managed not to make eye contact with his mother. "And if Candy's mind is made up then short of calling out the National Guard there's nothing any of us can do about it."

Candy wriggled off David's lap because he was trying to tickle her and giggling wasn't very effective when she was meant to be laying down the law.

Bette had this look that Candy recognised. A look that meant she needed a large vodka and tonic to get through the next five minutes. Like a shark scenting blood in the water, Candy moved in for the kill.

"If you don't let me go to London, I'll… I'll…" Her voice rose perilously high as she weighed up the countless threats she had good to go. And then it hit her. She smiled triumphantly. "I'll get a lawyer and I'll divorce you and become a legally emancipated adult and then I can go where I like, do what I like and there'll be fuck all you can do about it!" Candy hadn't paused for breath once and as she stood there panting, enjoying the shocked expressions on Bette, Conceptua and even David's face, there was a cough from the corner.

"That was great, guys," said the director of At Home With The Careless. "But we need another take – we're not happy with the lighting in this scene."

Candy looked up to where the old wall of the kitchen had been until the TV production company had bought the apartments on either side and knocked through so they'd have room for their cameras and the gazillion people that needed to mill about with cups of coffee and clipboards.

"So much for fly-on-the-wall, reality TV," Reed noted sagely

"At Home With The Careless is not reality TV," Bethany, the assistant director, hissed. "It's a genre-defining, reality-based dramedy, actually."

Reed didn't look a all chastened. "I'm out of here," he said. "I'm meeting some finance guys at the Gramercy Park Hotel in half an hour."

"But we haven't wrapped the scene yet," Bette protested, but Reed was already heading for the door with a terse, "Not my problem."

"I thought we told you to make him sign a contract," one of the producers said but the director clapped his hands.

"On your marks, people. Scene five, take seven, action!"

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