Read Lucky Break Online

Authors: J. Minter

Lucky Break

LUCKY BREAK

inside girl

a novel by
J. MINTER

       author of the insiders

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Also by J. Minter

Imprint

for Harriet and Vic, with love

Chapter 1
THE GOLDEN PARISIAN ADVENTURE

They say springtime is for lovers. And when you're in love in the springtime, what better place to go than Paris? And who better to bring along to the City of Lights than four of your very best friends?

“Will my flatiron work with this adapter?”

“Do you think gladiator sandals are totally passé in Paris?”

“You guys are going to kill me—I forgot to renew my passport!”

“Girls,” Camille commanded, waving her Phillip Lim bracelet cardigan–clad arms at our usual table in the crowded Thoney cafeteria. Everyone dropped her chopsticks to listen to my habitually calm, cool, and collected best friend say, “I can barely hear Flan think above all your stressing!”

“Sorry, Flan,” Amory said, sliding her new pair of
black leather Antik Batik sandals back in their hemp shoe box. “What were you saying?”

“I wasn't saying anything,” I realized. “Was I?”

“Not exactly,” Camille admitted, twirling a strand of her signature waist-length dirty-blond hair around her finger. “But I know you, and you had that scheming little look on your face. Whenever you get that way, you're thinking about something important.”

“Or … she's thinking about
Alex
,” my other friend, Morgan, sang. It was kind of a new thing for Morgan to tease me for gushing about my boyfriend. Ever since she hooked up with her current beau, Bennett, I hardly recognized my previously romantically challenged pal. These days, Morgan always let her dark hair down, and more often than not, the girl formerly known as Little Miss Jaded wore pink.

Having been called out, I could feel my cheeks turn the shade of her fuchsia sweater.

“Oh, busted!” Camille joked.

“I wasn't
just
thinking about Alex,” I defended myself. “I was thinking about all of us, being in Paris,
together
. Ladies, I have a feeling this spring break is going to be one for the books.”

“Or the tabloids.” Amory grinned. “Since I'm bringing a movie star,” she sang, doing a seated version of the cabbage patch dance. “A movie star, movie star.”

Camille threw her last piece of sushi at Amory. “Will you quit rubbing it in?” she teased. “And why are you so much better at the cabbage patch than me?”

After ducking to avoid getting smacked by sashimi, I grinned at my friends around the table. Following my brief but memorable era as a public school girl last fall, I'd been happily settling into the all-girl Thoney School on the Upper East Side. Not only was Thoney the alma mater of every female in my family, it was also the prep school of choice for my oldest friend, Camille. And, as she'd told me on the first day of school, when she introduced me to Harper, Amory, and Morgan:
mi posse es su posse
.

This posse had been planning our fabulous
voyage
for months, ever since the whole crew spent the night at my Perry Street town house for a classic movie night back in January. We'd rented
An American in Paris
and started out trying to one-up each other with our best impersonations of Leslie Caron pirouetting into Gene Kelly's arms. Well, one thing led to another, and the next thing we knew, I had the brilliant idea that we stop
acting
like Americans in Paris and
become
them. Except we didn't really want to stand out as
Americans
. The goal was to completely immerse ourselves in all things
français
.

The boy factor, well, that was a last-minute addition.
When Alex mentioned that he happened to be sans spring break plans, I had a revelation. It was just so rare that all five of us girls were simultaneously giddy over guys who returned the feeling. And what were the odds that all five of our crushes would be ready and willing to join us in Europe for ten days? I'd already found the most adorable flat on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, and the landlord just happened to have an identical suite for the boys on the floor directly below us. The vacation would be worlds away from the one I'd taken to Nevis with my Stuyvesant friends over Thanksgiving: all the stars were aligning for
this
trip to be unprecedentedly amazing.

I was almost shaking with excitement as I looked at the girls. There was Camille, already getting in the zone with her red velour beret. She'd confessed to having bought her boyfriend, Xander, a matching blue one at a sample sale on Broome Street—which had made Amory groan, but I assured her it would really bring out the intense blueness of Xander's eyes.

Morgan was gleefully texting Bennett, who was probably sitting in the Stuyvesant cafeteria downtown, editing his weekly column for the school newspaper while he waited for Morg's hourly check-in.

There was Amory, who I knew had bought the Antik Batik sandals because Jason James, her hottie
actor crush, had mentioned that ancient Greek history was his favorite subject in school.

And there was Harper, who hadn't stopped wearing Lacoste tennis skirts over her Prada argyle tights ever since she started playing doubles with New York tennis legend Rick Fare.

We were all so freaking happy. So why were the girls staring at me with that anxious look in their eyes?

Oh, right—the trip planning! We were supposed to be going over last-minute details before our flight on Friday. We were supposed to be crossing the t's in our itinerary and dotting the i's in Paris with cute little hearts. Since the Golden Parisian Adventure (aka GPA) had been my idea in the first place, I'd kept up with most of the logistics in a massive golden binder that I'd found at a stoop sale on Stanton Street.

“Okay,” I said, whipping out my binder. Jeez, this thing was getting heavy! “Where were we? Who forgot to renew her passport?”

“That would be me.” Morgan raised her hand, looking sheepish.

“Not a problem,” I said, making a note in the binder. “My mom's BFF with Chuck Schumer's travel coordinator. The senator programmed the embassy's phone number into her speed dial. E-mail
me your social security number and I'll have them overnight it to you. Next?”

I looked up at my friends, who were staring at me with dropped jaws.

“What?” I asked.

“Flan, is that you?” Camille said. “You're so …
organized
.”

“Hey, don't sound so surprised,” I said.

“I can be organized. It just takes me being really, really, really excited about something. Like a romantic trip to
Paris
with all of you!”

“And don't think we don't appreciate your efforts with the doorstop—I mean, binder,” Amory said, looking slightly intimidated by the size of the GPAB. “Any words of wisdom in there re the gladiator sandals?”

“They're adorable,” I said.

“But do they say
Paris
?” Amory asked. “Or do they scream
tourist
?”

“Hmm, yes,” Camille joked, lifting up a shoe by its long leather ankle strap. “All you need now is a fanny pack and an over-the-shoulder camera.”

Jokes aside, I knew Amory was serious about her trends. She'd be mortified if she were spotted on the Rive Gauche wearing something gauche.

“Hold up the shoes,” I told her. I picked up my iPhone and snapped a picture of A holding the
sandals with a nervous little smile. Then I texted it to my friend Jade Moodswing, the be-all and end-all of French fashion.

CHIC OU PAS CHIC
? I wrote.

A minute later, her response:

TRÈS, TRÈS CHIC!

I held out the phone for Amory to read.

“Thanks, Flan!” She beamed. “Huge sigh of relief.”

“Moving on,” I said, checking that off my list. “Someone had a question about a hair straightener?”

Dutifully, Harper produced her don't-leave-home-without-it flatiron, which we'd dubbed the Blue Genie for its deep aquamarine hue and magical defrizzing capabilities. In her other hand she held out an adapter that looked like it had been purchased in 1983.

“Yikes,” I said. “I wouldn't trust anything I loved with that monstrosity. Short-circuit city. Here,” I continued, pulling out a small, sleek adapter that I'd borrowed from my sister's stash. Feb had an adapter for just about every place on earth that used electricity. “Use this.”

Harper pitched the older model into the trash with a hefty thud.

“Thanks.” She smiled. “This will be much easier to fit in my carry-on!”

“Such a little troop leader, Flan.” Camille laughed.

She'd known me since elementary school, so she did have a right to be surprised. Just last month, I'd gotten myself in
way
over my head when I tried to set up
all
my friends on blind dates on the same night. And then there was that time when I thought I could single-handedly redesign the school's démodé lacrosse uniforms as the platform when I ran for class office.

Somehow, I always managed to pull off my crazy schemes in the end, but as my partner in crime, Camille had witnessed many a plan B, plan C … and sometimes a plan D before I spelled success.

“What else do you have in that carpetbag?” she asked, pointing at my Chloé taupe messenger. “Toilet paper? Girl Scout cookies?”

“Rope?”

Our whole table looked up to see Kennedy Pearson and Willa Rubenstein standing over us, hands on both of their hips.

Kennedy had just gotten a short Katie Holmes blunt cut that only made her look more like the angry Doberman she was. She still wasn't over the fact that I had friends because I was nice. And Willa, with her million-dollar wardrobe practically falling off her waif figure … well, none of us had ever really been able to figure out what Willa's problem was—
other than being friends with Kennedy, the devil incarnate.

“Okay, Kennedy.” I sighed. “I'll play along. Why would I need rope exactly?”

Kennedy shrugged. “Only because I heard that you had to bribe your so-called boyfriends to come with you on this little trip. Since they'll probably run screaming from you as soon as the plane touches down in Paris, you might want to bring some rope, you know, to keep them on a tight leash.”

Our entire table busted out laughing, much to Kennedy's infuriation. What made it so hilarious was the fact that Kennedy used to have this power over me. A comment like that back in seventh grade would have sent me sobbing into the bathroom. But by now, I knew who I was. And I also knew who Kennedy was: a fading star who would lie her way back to being popular if she thought she had a chance.

“And what are you doing over spring break, Kennedy?” Amory asked. “Nursing Willa back to health after her third nose job?”

“Or starring in an episode of
What Not to Wear
?” Camille added.

But Kennedy didn't take her eyes off me.

“'Bye, Kennedy,” I said, waving to give them both the hint. “Whatever you end up doing over spring
break, I hope you have
almost
as much fun as we're going to have.” I looked back at the girls. “Like that's possible.”

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