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Tales from a not so frie.., p.1
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       Tales From a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy, p.1

           Rachel Renée Russell
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Tales From a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy


  To Camryn Chase

  You’re a star! Keep dancing!

  MONDAY, MAY 5—7:15 A.M.

  AT HOME

  NOOOOOO !!

  I CAN’T believe this is actually happening to me!!

  I just found out yesterday that I’m going to be attending North Hampton Hills International Academy for one week as part of a student exchange program!

  Yes, I know. It’s a VERY prestigious school, known for its outstanding students, rigorous academics, chic uniforms, and beautiful campus that’s a twist between Hogwarts and a five-star luxury hotel!

  Most students would give up their CELL PHONES for a chance to attend there.

  So WHY am I totally FREAKING OUT?!!

  Because it’s ALSO the school that a certain DRAMA QUEEN just transferred to !

  Yes, it’s true! Unfortunately . . .

  MACKENZIE HOLLISTER ATTENDS NORTH HAMPTON HILLS!

  Calling her a mean girl is an understatement. She’s a RATTLESNAKE in lip gloss and hoop earrings and blond hair extensions. . . .

  I have no idea why she HATES my GUTS!

  But you’ll NEVER believe THIS!

  According to the latest gossip (from her little sister, Amanda, to my little sister, Brianna), a few of the North Hampton Hills girls have actually been HATING on MacKenzie! . . .

  THEY MADE FUN OF MACKENZIE BECAUSE OF THAT VIDEO WITH THE BUG IN HER HAIR!

  AND WENT OUT OF THEIR WAY TO MAKE HER LIFE MISERABLE!

  But all of this gets even STRANGER!

  I saw MacKenzie a few days ago at the CupCakery, and she was hanging out with some of her new friends. PRETENDING to be . . . ME!

  It was so BIZARRE, I almost flipped out! I wanted to rush down to the local POLICE STATION and scream . . .

  Thanks to MacKenzie, my life is a never-ending DRAMAFEST!!

  In just the past month or so, she has:

  1. slammed me in the face with a dodgeball

  2. stolen my diary

  3. hacked into my newspaper advice column

  4. accused me of cyberbullying her

  AND

  5. pretended to be ME.

  Like, WHO does that?!!

  Only a complete and utter . . .

  SICKO!

  After MacKenzie transferred, I was hoping I’d NEVER have to see her face again.

  But NOOOO!!!

  Next week I’ll be stuck attending North Hampton Hills with a spiteful, lip-gloss-addicted IDENTITY THIEF !

  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let my BFFs, Chloe and Zoey, get assigned to that school too.

  With them by my side, I can get through just about ANYTHING!

  Including a PAINFULLY long, MISERABLE week with my WORST enemy!

  !

  MONDAY—7:50 A.M.

  AT MY LOCKER

  I just got to school a few minutes ago, and the eighth-grade students are already buzzing about Student Exchange Week.

  I’m dying to talk to Chloe and Zoey about it.

  But right now I’m so SLEEPY I can barely keep my eyes open.

  Yesterday my parents surprised me with a . . .

  NEW PUPPY!

  Yes, it’s true! The Maxwell family has a dog!

  Her name is Daisy, and she’s a golden retriever.

  She’s a sweet, happy, wiggly bundle of energy.

  I LOVE her SO much that I’m thinking about making a new designer fragrance for teens called . . .

  PUPPY BREATH!!

  Daisy is absolutely PERFECT !! She’s SUPERplayful and so silly that she makes me laugh.

  Anyway, I was so stressed out about having to attend North Hampton Hills that I barely got any sleep last night.

  Although Daisy didn’t help matters. As much as I adore her, I’m starting to wish she had an ON/OFF switch, because . . .

  THAT DOG NEVER SLEEPS!

  And every time I drifted off to sleep, she’d get bored and lonely and want to PLAY. . . .

  DAISY DECIDES TO WAKE ME UP!

  By SCARING the SNOT out of me!

  ME, BEING ATTACKED BY A FEROCIOUS FURBALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!

  She was so cute that I couldn’t stay mad. . . .

  ME, SNUGGLING WITH DAISY (AND TRYING TO GET HER TO SLEEP!)

  OMG! I probably got LESS than seventeen minutes of sleep the ENTIRE night!

  It’s Daisy’s fault that I’m tired and grumpy and will be SLEEPWALKING from class to class.

  I’m almost too exhausted to even WORRY about Student Exchange Week.

  I wish it were a REAL foreign exchange student program for some faraway, exotic place, like maybe . . . Paris, France!

  I’d LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to spend a week in PARIS ! It’s SUCH a romantic city!

  I just turned in a project for French class about the Louvre art museum, which contains some of the world’s most famous masterpieces.

  I hope I get a decent grade on it since my report and hand-drawn illustrations took me FOREVER to complete!

  Anyway, I just had the most brilliant idea!

  Since I’m a library shelving assistant, I can use that as an EXCUSE to get out of the program.

  I’ll simply ask BEG our librarian, Mrs. Peach, to let me hang out HELP OUT in the library during Student Exchange Week.

  School will be out for the summer soon, and there’s a ton of work that needs to be done to get the library ready for next year.

  So I am pretty sure she’ll say yes.

  PROBLEM SOLVED! RIGHT ?!

  WRONG !

  That’s when Principal Winston made an announcement over the PA system about Student Exchange Week. He explained that the final week of the program would start on Monday, May 12, and those of us eighth-graders who hadn’t already participated in a previous week would be receiving a letter with details about our host school assignment later today.

  He reminded us that instead of being graded on class assignments, students will receive one credit for successfully completing the program. Any student failing to do so will end up one credit short for completing eighth grade and NOT be promoted to ninth grade!

  As if all of that news wasn’t BAD enough, he said the credit would have to be made up by attending SUMMER SCHOOL!

  SORRY!! But as much as I HATE the thought of spending a week with MacKenzie, I HATE the thought of spending the ENTIRE summer in school EVEN MORE !

  This student exchange program was quickly turning into a MASSIVE HEADACHE!

  Even though I felt overwhelmed, I decided to handle my problem in a very calm and mature manner.

  So I went straight to the girls’ bathroom. . . .

  And had a COMPLETE MELTDOWN!!

  !!

  MONDAY—10:55 A.M.

  AT MY LOCKER

  We just received our letters. . . .

  FROM THE OFFICE OF

  PRINCIPAL WINSTON

  TO: Nikki Maxwell

  FROM: Principal Winston

  RE: EIGHTH-GRADE STUDENT EXCHANGE WEEK

  Dear Nikki,

  Each year, all eighth-grade students at Westchester Country Day Middle School participate in Student Exchange Week with local schools. We feel this helps to foster community and good citizenship between students and faculty at the host schools. Participation is mandatory for YOU to meet your eighth-grade requirements.

  Next week you will be attending NORTH HAMPTON HILLS INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY (NHH). You are expected to be on your best behavior and follow the NHH handbook. Photos for student IDs will be taken on Friday, May 9.

  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

  Sincerely,

  PRINCIPAL WINSTON

  Everyone was excitedly reading their letters and discussing th
eir school assignments.

  Principal Winston had also placed the master list right outside the office door.

  I was at my locker writing in my diary when Chloe and Zoey rushed up to me, happily waving their letters in the air.

  “OMG, Nikki! Guess what?! WE have the SAME school!” Chloe shrieked hysterically.

  “WHAT?! NO WAY!” I blinked in surprise. “WE DO?! Are you sure?!”

  I assumed that Chloe and Zoey had already checked the office list for my assignment.

  “Chloe’s right!” Zoey smiled. “WE’RE assigned to the same school! Can you believe it?!”

  That news was almost too good to be true. I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

  I had wasted all that energy worrying for no reason.

  I was FINALLY starting to feel excited about the exchange program. It might actually be FUN!

  “We’re going to have a BLAST!” Chloe squealed. “Group hug, everyone!”

  We were doing a group hug when Brandon walked up.

  “Let me guess. The three of you have been assigned to the same school! Right?!” He smiled.

  “YEP! So, what school did YOU get?” Zoey asked.

  When Brandon held up his letter, Chloe and Zoey both screeched, “OMG!! BRANDON HAS THE SAME SCHOOL AS US!”

  “This is KA-RAY-ZEE!” I giggled happily. “It seems almost UNBELIEVABLE that the FOUR of us have been assigned to—”

  ME, FEELING TOTALLY CONFUSED!

  “WHAT?!” I gasped in shock. “Wait a minute, guys! Are you sure?!”

  But Chloe, Zoey, and Brandon didn’t seem to hear me. The three of them were laughing and talking about how GREAT it was going to be to hang out with Brandon’s best friend, Max Crumbly, at South Ridge Middle School.

  Suddenly my stomach started to churn and I could taste the breakfast burrito I had eaten this morning. I bit my lip and tried to swallow the lump in my throat.

  No one seemed to notice that I was upset. It was like I was invisible or something. And these people were SUPPOSED to be my FRIENDS?!

  I didn’t have any choice but to ask myself a very difficult question. . . .

  WHY DID I FEEL LIKE A . . . GIANT BUCKET OF . . .

  PUKE?!!!

  Suddenly everyone stopped talking and stared at me. “Nikki, are you okay?!”

  That’s when I closed my eyes and wailed. . . .

  “MACKENZIE’S SCHOOL?!” they gasped.

  I totally lost it right there in front of my locker as my three friends watched helplessly.

  “That’s TERRIBLE!” Chloe groaned.

  “You POOR thing!” Zoey moaned.

  “What CRUDDY luck!” Brandon muttered.

  OMG!

  I was so frustrated and angry, I wanted to . . .

  SCREAM!!

  There’s just NO WAY I’m attending school with MacKenzie only to be publicly humiliated by her.

  AGAIN!!

  I guess this means I’ll be signing up for summer school.

  Sorry, Principal Winston!

  But now that I know none of my friends will be at NHH with me, I’d rather poke my eye out with a dirty stick than be in your STUPID program!

  !!

  MONDAY—1:45 P.M.

  IN BIOLOGY CLASS

  Brandon and I are lab partners in bio and sit next to each other. I guess he must be worried about me or something, because he’s been texting me nonstop. . . .

  BRANDON: R U OK?

  NIKKI: I’m fine. Just a little bummed out about the NHH fiasco.

  BRANDON: How about I talk 2 Principal Winston about us switching schools?

  NIKKI: ???

  BRANDON: U go to South Ridge with BFFs. I go 2 Hogwarts. Then will U smile again?

  NIKKI: R U kidding me? U would do that?!

  BRANDON: Sure! 4 a friend.

  NIKKI: Thanx! But I’m OK now. 4 real!

  We stared at our text messages and blushed. Then we stared at each other and blushed. All of this staring and blushing went on, like, FOREVER! . . .

  BRANDON AND ME, TEXTING IN BIO

  BRANDON: This class is so boring.

  NIKKI: Totally agree. I’m trying to stay awake.

  BRANDON: If I doze off, please SLAP me.

  NIKKI: OK. LOL! Stop making me laugh or we’ll both get detentions for texting in class.

  BRANDON: Hey, at least U R smiling again!

  By the time bio was over, Brandon had cheered me up. I was starting to feel like maybe it WASN’T the end of the world after all.

  It was really sweet of him to offer to trade places with me and attend NHH. But MacKenzie has an even bigger CRUSH on Brandon than I do! She would happily give up lip gloss for the rest of her life to spend an entire week hanging out with him at NHH.

  Sorry, girlfriend! But that is so NOT happening!

  !!

  MONDAY—7:00 P.M.

  AT HOME

  I was SO relieved when the school day was finally OVER!

  It seemed to drag on FOREVER!

  I really can’t blame Chloe, Zoey, and Brandon for being excited about the student exchange program.

  Hey, I’d be excited about it too if I were attending South Ridge Middle School.

  The last thing I want is for my friends to know think I’m having a huge PITY PARTY just because I’m stuck attending North Hampton Hills with MacKenzie.

  Anyway, when I finally got home from school, my bratty little sister, Brianna, was in the kitchen working on a Scouting project.

  It seems like she’s been trying to earn a cooking badge, like, FOREVER. But, unfortunately, everything she makes turns out just AWFUL! . . .

  BRIANNA, COOKING UP A REALLY HUGE MESS!

  My curiosity finally got the best of me.

  “Hi, Brianna! So, what are you making this time?” I asked.

  “I’ve FINALLY perfected my chocolate pudding recipe!” Brianna exclaimed happily. “Now I just need to bake it for one hour.”

  “Actually, I don’t think it’s necessary to BAKE chocolate pudding. You should put it in the FRIDGE for one hour,” I suggested.

  “I’M the chef, and it’s MY recipe! I say it goes in the OVEN for one hour! So THERE!” she said, and stuck her tongue out at me.

  I just rolled my eyes at that girl.

  But what did I expect from a spoiled wannabe chef who secretly uses boogers when she runs out of cupcake sprinkles?

  Anyway, about forty minutes later I noticed a really foul odor. It kind of smelled like a garbage dump. On fire!

  I rushed into the kitchen to check on Brianna.

  “Nikki, take a look at my masterpiece!” She grinned as she held it out for me to see. . . .

  “Doesn’t this look DELISH?!!”

  Brianna’s “masterpiece” looked like a puddle of black tar with macaroni and several eyeballs stuck in it!

  I actually threw up in my mouth! EWWW !!

  “I made this snack especially for my Scout meeting today. And if the girls like it, I’ll finally earn my cooking badge!” she explained.

  “Well, everyone loves, um . . . BURNT chocolate pudding, right?! YUM YUM!!” I stammered. “And it smells. Really strong. So, good luck with your badge.”

  “Thanks! I also added eggs for a crunchy texture,” she said. “I learned that from the Chef’s Choice TV show.”

  “You were supposed to CRACK the eggs first, NOT toss them in whole,” I said.

  “But the eggshells are the yummy crunchy part! Would you like to try some of my pudding? You’re gonna LOVE it!” . . .

  BRIANNA, TRYING TO SHOVE HER PUDDING DOWN MY THROAT!

  OMG! That’s when I threw up inside my mouth again !!

  Unless Brianna’s cooking skills drastically improved, I FEARED for the nutritional health of her future husband and children. . . .

  BRIANNA’S MENU FOR HER FAMILY

  OMG! HOW were they going to SURVIVE on a diet of BURNT chocolate pudding?!!

  But I felt even SORRIER for those poor little girls who would be eating Brianna
s pudding as a snack later.

  Their frantic parents would be rushing them straight to the emergency room as soon as the Scout meeting was over.

  WHY?

  Because the entire troop would need to get their STOMACHS PUMPED due to Brianna’s NASTY chocolate pudding.

  The good news was that maybe she could have earned a stomach pump badge.

  Anyway, when Brianna arrived back home from her Scout meeting, she was visibly upset.

  “How did things go?” I asked.

  “TERRIBLE! Everyone HATED my chocolate pudding!” she grumbled.

  “Well, your pudding dish is empty. So even if the girls complained a little, they liked it enough to have eaten ALL of it!”

  “No, they DIDN’T! After our troop leader contacted Poison Control, we were advised to dig a deep hole in the woods and bury the leftovers,” Brianna ranted.

  “Bury it in the woods?! But why?!” I asked.

  “So no human or animal would accidentally EAT it. By the end of the meeting, we’d all earned our safety with toxic substances badge.”

  “Well, at least you and your troop earned a new badge. That’s a GOOD thing, right?”

  “WRONG! I was completely HUMILIATED!” Brianna sulked.

  I didn’t want to hurt Brianna’s feelings, but it was true. Her pudding was better suited for filling potholes in the street than for human consumption.

  “I’ll NEVER earn a cooking badge!” Brianna sighed. “I’m the WORST cook EVER!!”

  Brianna WAS the worst cook ever!

  But she was also my little sister, and I didn’t want to see her dream of earning a cooking badge destroyed.

  I felt really bad for Brianna.

  It seemed like only yesterday that I was six years old and totally obsessed with baking tiny burnt cupcakes in my very own Easy-Bake Oven.

 
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