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Authors: Allison Rushby

Blondetourage

Blondetourage

Allison Rushby

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Blondetourage

ePub ISBN 9781864714296
Kindle ISBN
9781864716634

Original Print Edition

A Random House book
Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd
Level 3, 100 Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060
www.randomhouse.com.au

First published by Random House Australia in 2008

Copyright © Allison Rushby 2008

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or
retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the
Australian Copyright Act 1968),
recording, scanning or by any information
storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of
Random House Australia.

Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found
at
www.randomhouse.com.au/offices
.

National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry

Author: Rushby, Allison
Title: Blondetourage / Allison Rushby

ISBN: 978 1 74166 346 4 (pbk.)

Version 1.0

Target Audience: For secondary school age
Dewey Number: A823.4

Cover illustration by Getty Images
Cover design by Ellie Exarchos
Internal design and typesetting by Midland Typesetters, Australia
Printed and bound by Griffin Press, South Australia

 

Thanks heaps: to Michael and Linsay, who put
up with my baby-brain 'Wah, I can't do it!'
shenanigans; to the brilliant YA author
Stephanie Hale for her fabulous title; and
to Heidi for her German donkey phrasing!

OMG

'O
kay. I can handle this. I can. I can, I can, I
can. No, wait a second. I so can't. I can't,
I can't, I can't, I ...'

I roll my eyes as the voice drones on in my
ear until, finally, I've had enough. This has been
going on for fifteen minutes now, which would
be approximately thirteen and a half minutes too
long. I'd stupidly dialled Steph's number just as the
cab pulled up to the curb. (Why? Why?! I blame
long-flight-induced insanity.) Thus, the babbliest babbler of them all has been babbling since JJ
and I exited the car downstairs, through us being
vetted by the doorman, heading over the marble
floor into the elevators, whizzing the long way up
to the penthouse suites and finding our way into
the gigantic kitchen we're now standing in. The
gigantic kitchen that is JJ's new workplace and my
new ... well, home, I guess you'd have to call it.
But back to the babbler and her babbling. Ow.
Seriously. My ear hurts.

'I really can't. I can't, I can't, I can't, I ...'

That's it. 'I think you probably
can
handle it
from halfway across the world, Steph. I'll talk to
you later,' I tell my best friend/cousin and then
snap my phone shut. Looking on, JJ laughs at both
Steph (who the whole of Manhattan probably just
heard) and me. Why laugh at me? Okay, so it's
a fair cop. My guess is she's laughing at my surly
expression, which I've been perfecting all the long
way over from Sydney to NYC (and that's some
serious surly practice).

'Oh, come on, Elli,' JJ gives me a look as I try with
all my might to take it up a notch to über-surly.
'You've got to admit it's just a little bit exciting.'

Exciting, huh? Well, let's see. Hmmm. I take a
sweeping look around me. At the gorgeous chef's
kitchen with its pale blonde wood floor, its spotless
stainless steel bench that goes on forever and the
gigantic oven. Oh, wait a second. Make that two
gigantic ovens (one for Hansel and one for Gretel?
Who knows?).

'Well ... it's not too bad, I guess,' I shrug halfheartedly, but then can't help smiling a tiny smile
at my mother (that's JJ – I'll explain about the name
later). All right, all right, I have to admit it – even
for me, little Ms Über-surly, this is all a tiny bit
exciting. Just a tiny bit, mind you. I mean, even
though I don't watch the show, you always see bits
and pieces of it on the ads, don't you? You still hear
about it on the news and from friends and stuff.
And this is it. Actually it. The kitchen. Romy and
Anouschka's kitchen. The kitchen that millions
and millions of viewers all over the world see when
they tune in to
Rich Girls
every Sunday night (or
whenever prime time is wherever you are).

So, yes, all right. It's a
tiny
bit exciting.

'That's better,' JJ beams back at my miniscule
'it's a tiny bit exciting' smile. And then she pulls
me in for a sideways hug, which, of course, I start
to squirm out of as soon as I can.

'Don't get me wrong,' I squirm harder still,
trying to make my escape, and start in on my point.
'This doesn't mean that I approve.' I drop my tiny
smile and return to my usual 'I hate everything
about
Rich Girls'
programming.

'Of course not,' JJ nods.

'I'm still here completely against my will.'

Another nod. 'Duly noted.'

'And ...' I'm about to start in on one of my
'Rich
Girls –
step aside while I vomit' speeches, when
another glance around the kitchen sees me spot
something that wasn't there before. Two somethings, in fact.

Something one: Romy; and something two:
Anouschka.

Yikes! Two somethings! Two somethings who
are staring straight at me.

At first, I don't quite believe what I'm seeing,
but then I check again and it seems, unfortunately,
that those peepers of mine were right. It's true –
the two most photographed, most talked about
girls in the world are staring at me. Me. With my
'I've been on a plane for approx. twenty-two hours'
static headrest hair, mustard stained jeans (preflight hotdog), T-shirt with a fresh chocolate smear
(soggy airline chocolate croissant for breakfast) and
my oldest, comfiest sneakers on my feet. (I'm no
Rich Girl
wannabe. I travel in comfort, sweetie,
not in style.) So, um, yes, again ... yikes!

Quick but important disclaimer: Not that I care a jot what
the cover girls for materialism think about anything, of
course, and especially my economy-seat fashion story,
but to tell the truth, I'm lucky they let me into the country
at all looking like I do right now, let alone into Manhattan
and the headquarters of
Rich Girls.

So, have I said those two words enough yet?
Rich Girls.
That's right.
Rich Girls.
Of course you
know about it. It's the hottest, most talked about,
highest rating reality show on TV. And what's not
to like? I mean, who wouldn't want to be born
gorgeous, disgustingly 'sorry, but I can't count
that high' rich (hey, they probably can't count past
twenty – the number of digits on their hands and
feet) and never have to work a day in their lives?

Um, me. That's who.

Yes, call me a freak, but I, Elli Adamson, seem
to be the only person in the whole wide world
who considers
Rich Girls
to be Not Hot. Even my
grandfather and his Jack Russell terrier, Stinky
Jack, love the show (sad, but true). But no, not
me. 'Stupid Girlz', I like to call it (yes, with a 'z'
– everything is cooler if it's misspelled, right?) ...
but I digress. We'll get to all that some other time,
because, right now ...

Well, I'm kind of busy. Remembering where I
am and whose eyes are currently on me, I step
sideways a tad, ducking the limelight. I wind up
slightly behind the kitchen bench, in the hope of
hiding that hideous mustard stain. And, again, it's
not because I care what Romy and Anouschka
think. It's because, well ... I may be Normal Girl
to their Rich Girl, but only three-year-olds have
mustard stains on their pants, right? Okay, enough
with the mustard motif. So, um, now what? I guess
I should say something. And so, to impress them
with all the wit and knowledge that I'm always
going on about that they lack, I use my Normal
Girl voice and say ...

'Guh.'

Oh, great. Just great. Nice one, Elli. 'Guh'. It's
not even a word, is it? That'll show 'em.

In front of me, Romy, milk chocolate-haired
and looking gorgeously, effortlessly casual in jeans,
ballet flats, a floaty white-beaded shirt and tinkly
silver bangles, blinks and half smiles at me before
glancing back at JJ, looking like she's wondering
who I am. Anouschka, sharp and blonde in a
tightly cinched green geometric print wrap dress
and killer black stilettos, doesn't smile at all. Her
look is more of a glare. A 'child, you're of less
use to me than the tissue I just blew my nose on'
glare.

JJ, however, doesn't seem to notice Anouschka's
look. Either that, or she simply doesn't care. 'Nice
to see you again Romy, Anouschka,' she looks over
at them, grinning. 'This is my daughter, Elli,' she
says. 'Elli, I'm sure I don't need to introduce to you
to Romy and Anouschka. She loves your show.
She watches it every week.'

I shoot JJ a look with this one. Ha! As if! If I
wasn't so busy guh-ing, I'd laugh for real. I love
their show? Um, no. I don't think so. Not even
close.
Rich Girls
is the most vapid and shallow
thing on television (and, yes, I'm counting re-runs
of
Punk'd.
Hello?! Has Ashton Kutcher had a
lobotomy or what? That boy is only good for one
thing – looking at).

Having been introduced, Romy and Anouschka
turn back to look at me once more, probably
expecting me to gush, or run over and kiss their feet
or something, I suppose. I try to open my mouth
and let out that witty one-liner that will no doubt
come to me at about 1 am, but I think I left my
brain on the luggage carousel where it's probably
still circling over at JFK. Just when I'm about to guh
again to fill the silence, Romy saves the day.

'Cocoa butter,' she says cryptically, sniffing the
air (how anyone can sniff the air and look angelic
doing it is beyond me, but Romy can do it. I
suddenly wish I could as well, but I'd be more likely
to look like a dog who thought something, somewhere,
was on fire). 'Mmmm,' she says, thinking
aloud. 'Cocoa butter from Ghana, beeswax from
northwest Zambia and olive oil from Italy.'

We all stare at her. Okay. Riiiiight. So the girl
really is cuckoo. Still, at least the attention has
moved away from me and my guhs. She's welcome
to the sniffing limelight.

Next to Romy, Anouschka sighs a bored sigh
(most likely because the limelight isn't on
her).

'Romy, you're so dumb,' I hear her say for about
the millionth time (this is one of her trademark
lines – calling her best friend dumb. Nice, huh?).
'Will you cut it with the party tricks already? This
is serious. We need to have a little chat with our
new chef here ...' she glances at JJ.

'JJ,' JJ says.

'Of course.' Anouschka flicks JJ's comment
away with one hand. People's names obviously
aren't important to her. Not JJ's, anyway. J-Lo's
and Jay-Z's, she could probably remember. She
continues, 'I gained two pounds last month with
that Japanese chef. Two pounds! Can you believe
it? That better not happen on your watch!' She
glances JJ's way once more.

'JJ,' JJ says and has the good sense not to say
anything about that one-kilogram addition of
Anoushcka's. I'm not exactly shocked, either. I
can put on a kilo just from eating a decent Sunday
breakfast.

Anouschka rolls her eyes and ignores JJ's
name correction yet again. 'Don't you have
anything to say about that, Romy? Two pounds,
I said! TWO POUNDS!' She whips back around
again, looking for some kind of reaction from her
bestie.

Romy is, of course, off in Romy dreamland,
where she mostly resides (with her one and a half
brain cells to keep her company, if what I've seen
on
Rich Girls
is anything to go by. The ads, that
is. Like I said, I don't watch the show itself. Or
only bits of it, as I pass by the couch, where my
grandparents, Nan and Pop, JJ and even the dog,
Stinky Jack, are wedged in together, getting their
sad weekly top-up of
Rich Girls
inanity).

'Hmmm? Oh. Two pounds. That's a shame,'
Romy finally manages to wake up and reply.

'WHAT?' Anouschka's head practically spins on
hearing this and my eyes widen as I watch her.
Calm down! Geez, that girl really does have a
temper, just like on the show (yes, yes, the show
that I don't watch. Oh, all right, already. So sometimes
I catch a bit of it. It's like watching a car crash.
You don't want to, but you can't help yourself). In
front of me, Anouschka continues her rant.

'WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? Oh? I gain two
pounds and all you can say is, "Oh"? and "That's a
shame"?'

Romy shrugs. 'Oh, that's, um ... terrible?'

Glare, glare, glare. 'I guess that's easy for you to
say. You never gain
any
weight.'

Another shrug from Romy. 'I can't help it. It's
not something I think about. Maybe you think
about it too much?'

Silence. And uh oh. Wrong. Thing. To. Say.

I start to consider whether backing out of the
room might be a good idea. You know, because I
value my life and everything, but I'm also aware
that any movement might draw attention to me.
Instead, I watch as Anouschka's eyes slowly turn
from glare-mode into two small slits.

'Romy, are you saying it's my fault I put on
two pounds? Because I'll have you know ...' and
with this she reaches down, lifts up the bag by
her feet that I haven't noticed until this moment
and dumps it unceremoniously on the countertop,
'even
he
gained half a pound on that dumb
chef's food.'

JJ steps forward to glance inside the now hissing
bag. 'No cats in the kitchen,' she says quickly.

'What?' Anouschka's wrath changes direction
violently. 'Did you just say something?'

'JJ,' JJ says.

The slits grow smaller still.

Okay. Really time to back away now. I don't
want to be some
Rich Girls
road kill. I have plans
for my life. Big plans. And I'm not going to leave
them dead and dripping on the
Rich Girls
altar as
some kind of Anouschka sacrifice. Surprisingly,
however, JJ doesn't look even slightly taken aback.
I guess she's used to this kind of thing, having
worked in celebrity kitchens for years now. The
celebrity tantrum must be part of her daily routine.
I see her mouth twist slightly, which I know means
she's sizing Anouschka up and is about to take a
different approach in the hope of getting her to
do what she wants her to do (it doesn't work so
well getting me to clean up my room any more – I
know all her tricks). Anyway, instead of shouting,
or telling her off, JJ simply takes a step back and
nods knowingly.

'It's the cat's energy, Anouschka. Apparently it
can heighten the calorific effect of food. If the cat
remains in the kitchen too long ...'

I look on in disbelief. Is she insane? Is the
Rich
Girls
brain-sucking bug some kind of super virus
that has affected her already? I stare at JJ like she's
a loon. The cat's
energy?
As if anyone's going to
buy that. She just wants the cat out of the kitchen
because it's not exactly hygienic to have it traipsing
across the benches. Any idiot knows that.

Or, um ... maybe not.

Anouschka sucks in her breath, horrified at JJ's
words. 'Oh. Oh, no. I had
no
idea. No wonder I
gained weight. The stupid cat
loved
that no-good
chef. He was always hanging around the kitchen
begging for salmon scraps. See, Romy? I told you
it wasn't my fault.'

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