Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend, p.1
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Diamonds are a Teen’s Best Friend
COPYRIGHT © 2013, 2016 by Allison Rushby
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Contact Information: Allison@allisonrushby.com
Cover art © Nicole Anderson
First Edition: November 2013
Print ISBN: 978-1492969464
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Other books by Allison Rushby
Living Blond Trilogy
Diamonds are a Teen’s Best Friend
The Seven Month Itch
How to Date A Millionaire
About the Author
Preview of The Seven Month Itch
“Is this the boat to Europe, France?”
Honestly, I tried to stop myself from asking the question, I truly did. In front of me, the porter guy looks at me as if I’m a thirteen (almost fourteen!)-year-old idiot. Beside me, dear old Dad looks at me as if I’m delusional (that’s because a lot of the time he actually thinks I am—he’s even had me tested to make sure I’m not). And he’s about to open his mouth to start in on me (again . . . sigh) when, behind me, I hear it—someone laughs. Right on cue.
I swing around quickly, my head zipping from side to side, trying to see who it is, but it’s practically impossible in this traffic jam of a crowd, especially when you’re as short as I am and your dad won’t let you wear a kitten heel, let alone rhinestones in the daytime. I bet Marilyn Monroe’s mother never said a thing about Marilyn wearing rhinestones in the daytime. Then again, Marilyn Monroe’s mother let her get married at sixteen and spent a great deal of time in a mental institution, so that’s probably not saying very much. I’m just about to give up on the searching thing when the crowd parts and someone dressed entirely in red, going out/in/out (in all the right places) and hips swaying, passes me by with a wink and a lift of one perfectly arched eyebrow.
“Honey,” she says, in the kind of voice that makes everyone turn and look at her, “France is in Europe.”
Oh. Oh, wow.
It’s one of those moments when you just know you’ll think up a zillion and two perfect things to say later, but instead you stand there looking like you’ve recently had a lobotomy. Especially when I realize that the someone is actually a Someone and that the woman now heading up the escalator to the biggest ship I’ve ever seen in my life is, in fact, Holly Isles.
Yes, the Holly Isles.
Actor. Goddess. Star of stage, screen and various tabloid magazines that you skim as fast as you can at the supermarket checkout because your dad will never let you buy them, Holly Isles.
Someone whistles. And this time, I don’t need to look around. This time, I know for sure it’s not for me. (Laughing, sure. Whistling? I am sincerely doubting it.) And because I don’t turn around, I don’t move for the guy who smacks into my shoulder and says, “Excuse me. I need to get to my aunt.”
I follow his gaze up the escalator to Holly. Holly is his aunt? Well, la de da. I go to give him my best “Get your filthy mitts off me, don’t mess with the outfit and don’t go anywhere near the hair, buster” look when my mouth drops even further. Hello, sailor! Cute boy ahoy!
“Ah . . .” my dad exhales, the lecture he’d been working on giving me obviously forgotten. Funny, but he’s got the same kind of lobotomy look as me. And he’s staring straight at Holly.
My gaze moves back from my dad to Holly’s form as she goes up, up, up the escalator (and I’m not alone, I think everyone on the dock is watching Holly go up, up, up). I can’t believe it. I can’t believe Holly Isles just said that to me. And it wasn’t exactly the line from the movie I was thinking about, but then again, neither was mine. And I could probably go on watching her forever, except that Holly’s now out of sight and my dad has obviously returned to his old lecturing form.
“Nessa Joanne Mulholland.”
“NESSA JOANNE MULHOLLAND!”
“Huh?” I finally look up, only to see him looking down at something. At my chest. Ugh. Gross. What is he doing? He’d better not be doing any research on me. But then I feel something.
Oops. The tissues are escaping again.
I surreptitiously stuff them down my black-with-leopard-skin-trim top with one hand. “I’ve got a cold, okay?” I mutter. So much for Marilyn’s mother. I bet she never had to put up with this kind of harassment from her father, either. Except that no-one was ever quite sure exactly who he was. And, of course, Marilyn didn’t need to stuff, either, did she?
I sigh my second sigh of the morning. Life. It’s just so . . . unmovielike.
Okay, okay, okay, so I guess I should explain the Marilyn thing. And the boat thing. And . . . everything. (Don’t ask me to explain the tissue thing, though. We’ve only just met!)
Right. It’s complicated and there’s a lot to get through, so listen up, or you’ll miss something. I suppose I’ll start with the Marilyn thing. Here’s the deal: I guess you could say I’m a little obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. I have been for quite some time now. And why wouldn’t I be? I mean, the woman is, was, amazing. I don’t know how many movies of hers you’ve seen, but I’ve seen them all. Every single one (even the last one, which was never finished). And about a million times. Each. I mean it; I just can’t get enough of Marilyn.
Well, I can’t exactly explain it, but it’s like, when I’m watching her, I can’t take my eyes off her. I’ve heard actors who worked with her say it was like that in real life too—that if she was in the same room as you, later on you wouldn’t be able to say who else was there. It was only you. And her.
Lots of people don’t understand why I love Marilyn’s movies—saying that all she ever did was play the dumb blond. But they’re wrong. Sooooo wrong. Marilyn was no dumb blond and she didn’t play dumb blonds either. If they bothered to look beneath the retina-blinding peroxide hair for a second, they’d see that Marilyn’s characters were smart cookies. They got what they wanted every single time and generally five minutes before they knew they even wanted it. Plus, they had a great time along the way.
I really wish I could explain it better. You see, it’s not one thing in particular I love about Marilyn, it’s just . . . oh, everything. The hair
Anyway, to cut to the chase, over the years I’ve come to realize something: Marilyn and I, we actually have quite a lot in common. Like what? Well, for example, our initials—NJM. Norma Jeane Mortenson. That’s her. Nessa Joanne Mulholland. That’s me. My dad thinks it’s a coincidence (especially as it was “Vanessa” before I insisted on “Nessa”). Still, I think it’s a sign.
Where Marilyn is concerned, I see a lot of signs. I call them Marilynisms.
I don’t tell my dad about them much anymore. Not since the time when, a few years ago, he sent me to see a special kid psychiatrist. I think he was starting to believe my addiction to all things Marilyn had something to do with my mother’s death (she died when I was six). But it doesn’t. Or at least I don’t think it does. I’d never tell my dad this, but, if anything, it’s probably got something to do with the fact that Dad and I seem to move every five minutes. At least Marilyn’s a friend I can take with me. She doesn’t even take up a lot of room—plenty of space on my laptop for all her movies!
My dad is a professor who specializes in (wait for it, it’s sooooo embarrassing . . .) sociology. What’s so embarrassing about that? Well, it’s kind of a special type of sociology. Kind of the human mating type of sociology (yes, I know, ewwwww). Can you believe it? That’s actually his job. Nosey parkering his way into other people’s private lives. Sick, yes? I can only dream of having a dad who’s a lawyer. Or an accountant. What I’d give to be able to say that: “My dad, he’s an accountant. He works in the city. He commutes in our station wagon.” Ha! I wish. Instead, we travel the world, from college to college, landing wherever Dad can get funding to ask his next round of gut-twistingly embarrassing questions of people he’s never met before. So far we’ve lived in Berlin, London, Toronto, Sydney, and now we’re leaving New York City. I think we originally come from Australia. At least, that’s where I was born and it’s where we’ve lived the longest. It’s also where my passport says I come from. And there’s a bit of an accent left in me . . . somewhere.
Right. That’s done. I’ll move on to the ship thing then, shall I? All of this brings us to where we are now—boarding the most gigantic ship I’ve ever seen in my life, the Majestic. Dad’s using the trip as part of one of his (yes, gut-twistingly embarrassing again) studies. For the last month or so he’s been busy interviewing women going on this cruise, and as soon as we set sail, he’ll continue watching them. (No, not in a “Do you want me to apply your sunscreen for you?” way; it really is for scientific research.) It’s all something to do with whether or not their behavior changes once we’re at sea (he tends to give me his proposals to read, but they mostly make my brain either switch off, or my eyes poke out in fright). In my opinion, he needs to quit watching and start dating. Maybe if he got a girlfriend he wouldn’t be quite so interested in what everyone else is doing. Then I could convince him accountancy is a good thing.
Alexa totally agrees with me on the dating thing. Who’s Alexa? Alexa Milton, my best friend and another Marilynism. Marilyn’s third husband was Arthur Miller. Alexa Milton. AM. Arthur Miller. AM. That’s no coincidence as far as I’m concerned. NJM and AM. We were meant to be best friends (hopefully we won’t get divorced after five years).
Alexa’s got a weird life, just like I do. Her parents are archaeologists, and Alexa spends her life being dragged from one dusty dig to another. Still, at least if her parents asked the people they’re studying those gut-twistingly embarrassing questions, nobody would be embarrassed at all, because the people they’re studying are always dead. That’s how Alexa and I met, through our parents (still hanging around college at their age—sad, really). We try to keep them apart because when they get in the same room together they tend to go on and on about how, one day, we’ll thank them for our unconventional upbringing. How it will have “expanded our minds.” Whatever.
Alexa’s not so big on the Marilyn thing, but she’s watched all the movies with me (the fifth and sixth times I might’ve had to bribe her with snacks), and she gets where I’m coming from. Sort of. Which is good enough for me. At the moment, she’s stuck in the middle of a large expanse of red dirt somewhere in Turkey, with no phone reception and only intermittent Internet to keep her sane. I keep telling her I’d change places with her any day (parents are far less likely to embarrass you when you’re in the middle of nowhere surrounded by dead people), but she hasn’t decided whether she’ll take me up on my offer yet. She says the cruise sounds great, but having a peeping Tom for a dad leaves her a bit cold (he’s really not like that, I swear).
Phew. I think I got through all that in record time. It may even have been a personal best. (Attending five different schools in eight years has seen me hone the story of Nessa Joanne Mulholland to five minutes or less.)
Anyway, speaking of Alexa, my fingers practically started itching to email her when Holly Isles did her thing as we were boarding the Majestic, because it really was like the start of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. You know, when Lorelei and Dorothy are boarding their boat headed for France? No? Okay, I guess you probably don’t know. But, believe me, it is. I just couldn’t help myself with the “Is this the boat to Europe, France?” line. Just like Marilyn’s line in the movie. And then Dorothy, oops, I mean Holly, lobbed the next line from the movie right back at me. Another Marilynism to add to my collection! Maybe this trip won’t be so bad after all. Especially if Holly’s fiancé is around somewhere (Kent Sweetman—also super-famous!). Though I wonder where he was this morning? According to all the magazines, they were supposed to be getting married last weekend. So what’s she doing on some cruise with her nephew?
Hmmm. Weird. Could it possibly be this trip will be semi-interesting?
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Simply the best Marilyn movie ever. Marilyn stars as Lorelei Lee—a savvy, blond, fun-loving, hip-sashaying, rich-husband-and diamond-seeking missile. She and best friend Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell), a street-smart brunette who won’t settle for anything but true love, leave their New York showgirl lives behind them and make their way to Paris on a cruise ship.
Once there, Lorelei hopes to marry rich nerd Gus Esmond, but Gus’s father has other plans. Esmond senior plants a private detective on the ship, hoping to catch Lorelei with other men and expose her as a gold-digging schemer. Naturally, guys can’t help but be attracted to her, and the private detective soon has a wealth of ammunition (and pictures) that appears to prove Lorelei isn’t faithful.
The two girls have to use every ounce of their charm and smarts to get the photos back, prove they’re not diamond thieves and get themselves married by the end (Lorelei to Gus and Dorothy to the private detective, of all people). Amazing outfits and the best songs, including “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
I give it ****** out of five stars.
“Nessa Joanne Mulholland.”
Oh, how I wish my parents had never given me a middle name. Or a first name. Or even a last name for that matter.
“I thought we agreed we were going to tone it down a bit on this trip?”
Did we? I can’t remember. We’re always agreeing to tone it down a bit. On this trip. For that party. During this, that, and the other important dinner. Though I’ve yet to work out just what the old guy means by “tone it down a bit.” Could he just mean be me but a bit more quietly? And again, honestly, I did try to hold back. It was only that I’d gotten a bit excited after seeing Holly and having her realize what I was on about with the “Europe, France” line.
And so, when the ship pulled out, I couldn’t help myself with the throwing of the streamers and the waving like a weirdo and the “Bye, lover!” line. (I think I may have scar
“You know, one day that’s going to work on some man, and you won’t know what to do.”
I go to open my mouth and tell him maybe before that happens I’ll read his paper on the subject, when I think better of it and shut it again. Two Marilynisms is pushing my luck already for one Dad day, and looking inside the cabin door that he’s just opened in front of us, I really don’t want to be spending a lot of time in the sin bin of the high seas. We both go to move into the cabin at the same time and get stuck.
“Umph. Sorry,” we say in unison, then laugh.
Dad lets me through first and moves in one step behind me. (That’s as far as we both go before hitting the first single bed.)
“Um, there’s no window,” I say, looking around the room (and, believe me, it doesn’t take long). “And what’s that noise?” I end up yelling as “that noise” gets louder and louder.
“That would be the engine.”
“Sorry?” Dad says.
“Oh,” he says, working out what I said in the first place.
Yes. Oh. Something tells me I won’t be running into Holly Isles, Kent Sweetman, or the cute nephew down this end of the ship. And by down I mean down. Because I’ve just figured out why there’s no window. There’s no window because sea level is somewhere a few stories above our heads. This is cruising the college-grant-funded way. And something else is telling me the grant won’t be running an expense account for all the garish, cocktail umbrella and plastic monkey-festooned mocktails I’d been planning on having.