Mia the Way the Cupcake Crumbles
CHAPTER 1 I Told You I Hate Mondays!
It was one of those dreams that you wished would go on and on. I was at a fashion show, and there were tons of celebrities in the seats. And these models, who all looked like my friend Emma Taylor, were walking down the runway, wearing the most gorgeous clothes. And I had designed them all! Everyone kept clapping and clapping.
Then the dream crowd began to chant. “Mia! Mia! Mia!”
I woke up with a start at the sound of Mom calling my name.
Why is she waking me up? I wondered groggily. She knows I set my alarm every night, and I wake up at six forty-five every morning—in time to get
dressed, eat my breakfast, and, most important, do my hair.
I was feeling really cranky that Mom had interrupted my dream—and then I looked at the clock: 7:06.
“Mia, did you forget to set your alarm?” Mom called up to me.
I groaned in reply. Yes, I had, but I hated to admit it out loud.
“Mondays,” I mumbled, climbing out of bed. Mondays are bad enough as it is, but they’re even worse when you’re running twenty minutes late.
I ran into the bathroom and quickly jumped in the shower. Normally, I like to leave my conditioner in my hair for a full three minutes, but I knew I didn’t have time. I slopped it on and rinsed it out. It would have to do.
I toweled it dry and quickly got dressed in skinny jeans and a plain black T-shirt—classic, and my go-to look for when I’m in a hurry. And my black flats are the perfect touch.
“Mia! Breakfast!” Mom called again.
“I’ll take it on the bus!” I called back down, and then I turned on my blow-dryer so I wouldn’t have to hear Mom if she argued with me. I have this attachment that lets me comb and dry my hair at
the same time and makes my hair supershiny.
I had just finished the left side of my head when my blow-dryer made this funny wheezing noise. Then it just stopped.
“Come on!” I said, pushing the button in and out. I checked the cord and saw that it was plugged in. Frustrated, I pushed the button again, but it still didn’t work.
I hated to admit defeat, but I knew it was broken. Now one side of my hair was perfectly flat, and the other side was starting to dry into a wavy mess.
I ran to the top of the stairs.
“Mom! Can I use your blow-dryer? Mine’s broken, and my hair looks weird!” I called down.
Mom came to the bottom of the stairs and looked up at me.
“Mia, your bus will be here any minute. I made you eggs, and you are not going to miss breakfast just so you can make your hair look perfect. Please get down here right now.”
“But I can’t go out with my hair like this!” I wailed.
“Put it in a ponytail,” Mom snapped, and walked away.
I was feeling pretty mad that she wouldn’t let me use her blow-dryer, but I knew that the ponytail
was a good solution. Or, at least, I thought so, until I tried pulling my hair into the elastic. The wavy side of my head kept puffing out, and it just didn’t look right. I tried pulling it back again, and then I put it into a side ponytail, but that looked even worse, so I took it out.
“Mia! Now, please!” Mom sounded exasperated.
I sighed, slipped the elastic into my pocket, and opened my closet. My black flats should have been right there, in my shoe organizer, but they weren’t. I checked under my bed and saw a lot of dust bunnies, but no flats.
Then I heard Mom coming up the stairs.
“Okay, okay!” I cried, heading her off before she could complain again. I grabbed the nearest shoes I could find—a pair of brown ankle boots—and ran downstairs.
“Finally,” Mom said with a sigh when she saw me. Eddie, my stepdad, was leaning against the counter, drinking his coffee.
“Having a manic Monday, Mia?” he asked.
“Uh-huh,” I mumbled. Eddie is really nice, but he is, like, always cheerful, and I just don’t have that in me.
You’d think that my stepbrother, Dan, would be the same as Eddie, but he’s really not. Dan is into this screaming metal kind of music and wears a lot
of very uncheerful T-shirts with flaming skulls on them. He walks to the high school every morning, so he was already out the door when I got down.
I quickly ate my eggs and didn’t even have time to brush my teeth before I had to go make the bus. Gross! I slipped on my brown boots, annoyed because they totally ruined the look of the sleek black T-shirt and skinny jeans. Then when I grabbed my backpack and ran for the door, Mom thrust an umbrella into my hand.
“You’ll need this,” she said.
“Why?” I asked, in a kind of haze, and then she opened the door for me and I saw that it was pouring rain outside. I mean, pouring rain.
“Bus, Mia,” Mom said firmly.
Glaring at her, I opened the umbrella and stepped outside. Even the rain felt warm and gross, like dog drool.
I guess it was kind of good I was running late for the bus, because I didn’t have to wait long for it to get there. I climbed on and slid down into my regular seat, feeling miserable.
At the next stop, my best friend, Katie Brown, got on and took the seat next to me, like she had ever since our first day at middle school (that’s how we met). Katie usually cheers me up.
But not today.
“Hey, Mia,” she said. Then she kind of stared at me. “Cool hairdo. Is that a new thing, half flat and half all wavy like that?”
I was immediately upset. Now, Katie wasn’t being mean or sarcastic at all. She doesn’t know anything about fashion, really, except what I tell her. She mostly wears regular jeans and T-shirts with flowers or cupcakes on them, and I don’t think she even blow-dries her hair. Which is fine, because Katie is adorable and perfect the way she is.
The reason I was upset is because if Katie noticed my hair—Katie, who never pays attention to what anybody’s wearing or what their hair looks like—then that meant that everyone else at school was definitely going to notice.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. I must have been wearing my upsetness on my face.
I sighed and sank down farther into the seat. “Monday,” I replied, and that was all Katie needed to hear. She nodded.
“Yeah, Monday,” she said. And we didn’t say another word until we got to school, because Katie totally gets me. Which is why she’s my best friend.
When we got to school, the linoleum floor was slippery and wet from everyone bringing the rain
in with them, and the hallway smelled like a big wet sock. I made my way to my locker, self-conscious in my unmatching brown boots and with my bad breath and crazy hair.
Nobody is staring at you. Nobody is staring, I told myself, but of course, I was wrong.
“Nice hair, Mia,” someone behind me hissed. A mean giggle followed.
I didn’t have to turn around to know who it was. It was Olivia Allen. We had been friends for a while, but it just didn’t work out. Olivia is as much into fashion as I am.
I turned around, anyway, and gave her a quick smile and wave as she passed me in the hallway. That’s one rule of mine I always try to follow: If somebody gets to me, I try not to show it.
But the morning just kept getting worse. After homeroom, I have math with Mr. Kazinski. He’s tall and wears glasses, and he’s one of those loud, fun teachers who make jokes. That definitely helps make math class bearable, but the downside of that is he expects a lot of class participation.
Katie and I sit next to each other in that class, in the middle, which means we’re in a prime spot to be called on. Normally, I don’t mind, because Mr. K. doesn’t make you feel bad if you get a wrong
answer, but today I was just not in the mood.
So when class started, I decided to pretend that I was invisible.
He can’t see you, I told myself. You’re invisible. As invisible as the wind. As invisible as . . . glass. As invisible as . . .
“Mia? Earth to Mia?”
The whole class was laughing, and I realized that Mr. K. must have called on me and I hadn’t even heard him.
“Oh, yeah,” I said.
“Mia, can you tell me how we can find the perimeter of this triangle?” he asked.
I stared at the triangle on the board. I did know how to do it, honestly, but everyone was still laughing and I just couldn’t concentrate.
“Um . . . uh . . . ,” I said.
“Come back to Earth, Mia, and I’ll call on you again later,” Mr. K. said. “All right, who can tell me how to find the perimeter of this triangle?”
Katie gave me a sympathetic look, and I shook my head. Being embarrassed in class is not a feeling I am used to. And I answered the next question correctly, but still . . .
“Earth to Mia,” Ken Watanabe joked as the bell rang and I headed to my next class.
“Don’t feel bad, Mia,” Katie said. “Stuff like that
happens all the time in Mr. K.’s class.”
“I blame Monday!” I said, and then we waved as we headed down two different hallways.
My hall took me to English class with Ms. Harmeyer. I like English class a lot, and we’re reading a really compelling book about a girl who lived during World War II. So I was looking forward to second period.
I was, that is, until I sat down, and my friend Nora, who sits next to me, said, “Mia, what’s that on your arm?”
I looked at my right arm, which was covered in blue ink. There was a big blob of ink on the desk, but somehow I hadn’t seen it when I came in. Somebody’s pen must have busted open.
“Oh, great,” I moaned. I raised my hand. “Ms. Harmeyer, can I go wash this off?”
She let me go to the girls’ room, and I tried to wash it off, but you know how that goes. I couldn’t get it off! I scrubbed and scrubbed with a paper towel, but I still had a huge purpley-blue stain on my arm. I must have been in there for a long time because Nora came in and said, “Ms. Harmeyer is wondering where you are.”
I turned off the water. “I just can’t get it off.”
Now it was Nora’s turn to give me a sympathetic look, and I reluctantly followed her back to class.
After English I have gym with Katie, Alexis Becker, and Emma—my three best friends. Besides being friends, we own a cupcake business together. Cupcakes helped us bond on the first day of middle school. Then we turned our love for cupcakes into something really awesome.
It’s nice that we all have gym together, because it usually means I end up on a team with at least one of my friends. Today, Ms. Chen, our gym teacher, divided us into four teams to play basketball.
Now, I like basketball, and I’m kind of tall, and I’m pretty good at it. But on that Monday, it was like I had never played basketball before in my life! I couldn’t make a single shot. The first time I threw the ball, it rolled around and around the rim like it was going to go in, and then it slipped off to the side! The second time, I hit the backboard in the perfect spot, but the ball nicked the rim on the way in and bounced out. And then the third time, Jacob Lobel slapped the ball away as it soared to the basket—and he’s the shortest kid in our class!
Because of me, our team lost: 10–8.
“It’s okay,” Emma told me, seeing my sad face
as we walked back to the locker room. “Everybody has a bad game once in a while.”
“It’s more than a bad game—it’s a bad day,” I told her.
Emma frowned. “Poor Mia. But cheer up! Lunch is next. Maybe the second half of your day will be better.”
“I sure hope so!” I said.