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"What about your secret agents in town?"

"They’re nice and helpful, but of the sweats and sneakers variety," V said "And ," Martha piped up

"Out of what?" I asked

"Maybe we could take a pair of shorts and pull out the seams and stitch them into a cute A-line skirt That wouldn’t be so bad And you could take the polo shirt and rip off the sleeves and collar and turn it inside out, so it looks kind of frayed and rough And you could wear knee socks and your Converse shoes That would be kinda punk, right?"

"Slutty schoolgirl? Martha darling, you’re a genius," Bebe said

"Can you do any of that stuff?" I asked

"Sure," Martha said sweetly, "but I’ll need a needle and thread and sole that stuff from Home Ec," Cassie said

"They have Home Ec here?" Bebe asked "How did I not know that?"

"I think it’s just for the, well, you know"

"Ahh, the Ellens…"

"Ellens?" Martha asked

"As in DeGeneres," Bebe explained

"Yeah, it’s part of their plan to domesticate me If I told ’em I wanted to sew, I could probably lay e can you do with one little pin?"

Martha looked like she was about to burst with exciteood job I used to make all my costumes"

"Costumes?" the four of us asked in unison

"From when I was a Junior Miss"

"You were a beauty queen?" Cassie asked

"Yeah I was Miss Junior Columbus, Ohio, when I elve"

We all stared at her, completely astonished Martha? A beauty queen? It wasn’t that she wasn’t pretty She was She had big green eyes and pretty pink skin But Martha was a big girl, and she carried herself like she was trying to disappear She just didn’t have the aura of a Junior Miss

"Martha darling Don’t take this the wrong way, but was it a plus-size beauty contest?" Leave it to Bebe We’d all been thinking the sa, but only she had the nerve to say it

"It was a normal contest, Bebe, but I was skinny then," Martha said wistfully "I only ballooned a few years ago I guessdown at her hands "But I can still sew Really, eous"

"Martha," V said "You are a woman of mystery"

"I am?" she asked

"You are," V replied And with that Martha s smile, and you could almost see the beauty queen within

Chapter 15

"Hoful is it? Are theyfood? We saw theht of March 15th and I was being se with Beth and Ansley V’s plan had worked perfectly It hadn’t snowed again Cassie had gone on a bowling field trip and slipped away to call ourand jaic transfor the Red Rock uniforhts-out, I snuck out of my room, down the hall, out the door, up the tree, and over the fence, not even skinningfor me, I couldn’t believe how easy it was

Beth and Ansley were chatty and dying to know about Red Rock Normally I’d have welcomed the chance to spread the word about the fraudulent therapy going down there, but I was too busy trying to avoid puking My sto about V’shorrid nightfor me on the other side of the fence In fact, I’d been so busy obsessing about ht to why I was breaking out: to see Clod, to see Jed

But noas about to be reunited withto be a spectator this ti of weird--Jed His letters, his affection, his distant support--he’d been like ht up the dreariness of Red Rock I thought about him all the time, way more than I would’ve if I had my nor aboutnice and encouraging Riding toward town, I tried to let go ofood to see Jed, and Denise and Erik anyhow, I told myself

If I could find thee I had no idea where or what tiot there, and they e is dinky There are only a couple of places where a band could play We’ll swing by Java Jive and Cafeno at one of those," Beth added

"We don’t get many new bands in town," Ansley said "Utah isn’t exactly known for its o to the show too, if you don’t reat I can’t tell you how lad to do it We e could dothat dump shut down"

We arrived in town, a cute place full of ht,a bunch of skater kids loitering near the corner Ansley rolled down herand asked if they knehere a band called Clod was playing, and we got the ansere hoping for: Cafeno with the bass amp "Brit, Oh"It’s Brit She uys are out back They’re gonna shit a brick when they see you And your ti is perfect We’re on at eleven thirty"