Away for the Weekend

Away for the Weekend by Dyan Sheldon

Book: Away for the Weekend by Dyan Sheldon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dyan Sheldon
She may not know who this girl is, but she at least is sure of that much in what seems to be a very uncertain world. “You can’t—” An old-fashioned phone starts to ring – bringggbringggbringgg – sounding as if it’s coming from under Gabriela’s pillow. She looks towards the bed.
    “Speak of the devil…” mutters Delila. She, too, is looking at Gabriela’s bed. “Tell her you can’t talk now.”
    Gabriela moves her attention back to Delila. “Tell who?”
    “You know who. Tell her we have to get down to breakfast. Pronto.”
    Breakfast? Gabriela hasn’t eaten breakfast since she was nine, when she went on her first diet. “Oh, look, I’ll come later. I promise. But I think I’ll mis—”
    “No, you won’t,” corrects Delila. “We said we’d meet the three witches at eight sharp. Since we seem to be the ones who got stuck with them. The bus isn’t leaving till nine-fifteen so that gives you enough time to order stuff and send it back if you think it’s been contaminated.”
    “The bus?” She should have known. Fashionistas ride in Cadillacs; geeks ride on buses.
    “Yeah, the bus. We’re having a tour of the cultural highlights of Los Angeles, the Paris of the West Coast. Remember?”
    This day’s already too long.
    “And anyway, you can’t miss breakfast. We have the big daddy of big days ahead of us. You don’t start a cross-country trip without putting gas in the car, do you?”
    Gabriela blinks. Even at her best, she’d have trouble following Delila’s conversational style, and she definitely isn’t at her best right now.
    Delila answers for her. “Of course you don’t.”
    Necessity may be the mother of invention, but the mother of inspiration is desperation. “OK, I agree with that,” says the desperate Gabriela. “But it’s not just gas a car needs, is it? You have to make sure it’s got oil and whatever. And you have to wash the windows and vacuum the seats and the floor and give it a wax shine and all that kind of thing…”
    Delila’s hands move to her hips. “Where is this going, exactly?”
    “What I’m saying is, there’s more to a car than gas, and there’s more to a person than breakfast.” She almost has to shout to be heard over the ringing of the phone, which seems to get louder the longer she ignores it. “So if I’m coming today, I need time to put on my make-up and—”
    “Make-up?” This does make Delila laugh. Almost hysterically. “What’s with you? You’re acting freakier than a guy about to change into a werewolf. You don’t have any make-up, Beth. All you have is eczema cream.” She points at Gabriela’s pillow. “Now you’d better answer that phone. You know your mom’s not going to stop until you do.”
    “How do you know it’s my mother?”
    “Are you kidding?” Delila is still laughing. “Who else would it be at this time of the morning? I’m just surprised she let you sleep through the night.”
    Gabriela retrieves the phone. It’s Mom.
    She turns her back on Delila’s smirk. She takes a deep breath. “Hi,” she says, sounding brighter than a studio light. “Mom. What’s up?”
    “What’s up? You mean besides you? At last.” Unlike her daughter, Lillian does not whisper. Indeed, she seems to be under the impression that Beth is actually deaf. “Do you have any idea how worried I was when you didn’t answer? I thought they had to rush you to emergency and you left your phone in your room. It just kept ringing and ringing—”
    “I was—”
    “Well, you weren’t thinking about me. I know you’re having fun with all these new people, but you did know I’d be calling.”
    “You remembered to take your vitamins, I hope.”
    “And what about breakfast? Have you already had your breakfast?”
    “No, w—”
    “Well, make sure the juice is freshly-squeezed. I know you don’t like to ask, Beth, but you really don’t want something out of a carton.”
    “So how did you

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