Baby-sitters Club - The Mystery At Claudia's House - lightnovelgate.com
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"Me, too," said Dawn. "A boyfriend with a little red car! She's got it made."
Stacey sighed. "I can't believe we all laughed the other day when Mallory guessed the truth. Now it seems so obvious that she was right."
"It does, doesn't it?" I asked. "But, you know, if it had been anybody but Janine, I would probably have guessed right away. I just never thought of her having a boyfriend before. Especially such a cute one." I unwrapped another Yodel. "It just goes to show you - "I started to say, and then the phone rang.
Kristy grabbed it. "Baby-sitters Club," she said. "Kids are our business." She listened for a moment, and then smiled. "That's great, Derek," she said. "You must be relieved." She listened again. "Oh, well. There's always next season." A few moments later she hung up. "Guess what?" she asked us. "Derek's agent called and told him the writers for the show have decided to forget about the kiss. They think Waldo's too young."
I couldn't believe it. "After all that nervousness!" I said. "But Derek must be happy."
"Not really," said Kristy, laughing. "He said he had just gotten psyched up for it, and now he's disappointed that it's not going to happen!"
Mallory giggled. "I bet my brothers will be disappointed, too. They couldn't wait to see that episode!"
"I was looking forward to it myself," I said. "Oh, well. At least Derek learned something about truth and lies because of this."
"So did Janine," said Stacey. "Only I bet she isn't going to put off kissing for another year!"
We started to giggle. I tried to imagine Janine kissing a boy, which only made me giggle more. Pretty soon my friends and I were laughing so hard we couldn't stop, not even when J heard a knock at the door. "Come in!" I finally gasped, and Janine poked her head into the room.
"What's so funny?" she asked.
"N - nothing," I said, trying to catch my breath, "What's up?"
"I just wanted to tell you that I'm going over to Jerry's house to study. And then he's coming here for dinner. Will you please try to act like an adult around him?" She frowned at me. "Or is that too much to ask?"
She was still mad at me. "I'll do my best," I said. "I promise not to suck my thumb or spit baby food on him." I wanted to see if she would crack a smile. She didn't. She just frowned even harder and then closed the door and clomped down the stairs. I turned to my friends and shrugged. "Do you think she'll ever forgive me?" I asked.
"Someday," said Stacey. "But you may have to be patient. She seems pretty mad."
"She is," I said. "Stubborn, too. I've apologized all over the place, but she just doesn't seem to hear it." I hated having Janine mad at me, and I was .sorry I'd spied on her, but I knew I'd done the right thing when I told my parents. She did, too. She just couldn't admit it. .
Our meeting broke up soon after Janine's visit, and I went downstairs to help my mom with dinner. I could tell she was a little nervous about Jerry coming over, because she kept checking to make sure that the tablecloth was clean and that the silverware all matched. Also, she was worried about the food she was planning to serve. "I hope he likes chicken," she said at one point.
"Mom," I said, "everybody likes chicken. Unless they're vegetarians or something."
"Vegetarians!" said my mother. "I didn't even think of that. What if he doesn't eat meat at all?"
"Then he'll have to get by with baked potatoes and salad," I said. "He'll live." I gave her a hug. "It's going to be fine," I said.
"I know," she answered. "It's just that this is the first time one of my babies is serious about somebody. You're both growing up so fast!" She hugged me back.
The table was set and dinner was ready by the time Janine and Jerry walked through the front door. Janine introduced her friend to us, blushing. Dad shook his hand, Mom smiled at him, and me? I just stood there. He really is the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen up close. He looks like he could be on TV.
But he wasn't conceited or anything. In fact, he turned out to be really nice. He ate everything we'd cooked, and he kept saying how good it was. He asked my dad about the stock market (my dad works for an investment firm), and he talked with my mom about funding for the library. Then he turned to me. "Janine tells me that you're the vice-president of a successful business," he said, grinning. "That's really impressive."
"Uh, thanks," I said, blushing. I must have sounded like a jerk. I closed my eyes for a second and tried to pull myself together. I knew I should ask him a question, to make him feel comfortable. "Um, what are you studying in school?" I asked finally. I tried to look at him, but it was hard. He was too cute - he made me nervous.
"Well, I'm most interested in physics," he said. "Nuclear physics, actually. You know, like quarks and things like that."
"Quarks," I repeated. I'd never heard of a quark. It sounded like something a weird duck would say. But I smiled at Jerry, and nodded. "That's great," I said. Then I pretended to be very, very interested in my baked potato, so I wouldn't have to say anything else.
My parents asked Jerry about a million questions - where did he live, and how many sisters did he have, and that kind of stuff. He gave polite answers, and I could tell Mom and Dad were impressed with him. Janine sat next to him, smiling. She looked happy, and very proud of him.
Somehow, we made it through that meal. I didn't spill gravy down my shirt, and my father didn't ask any uncomfortable questions, and my mother didn't tell any stories about cute things Janine had done as a baby. In other words, we didn't do anything to embarrass Janine.
After dessert, we said good night to Jerry, and Janine walked him to his car. I started up the stairs, since I had homework to do. Then I heard Janine come back in. She went into the living room where my parents were sitting. I paused on the stairs so I could hear what she said to them. "I just want to thank you," I heard her say. "Jerry really liked you both."
"We liked him, too," said my mother. "He's welcome anytime."
"He's a fine young man," added my father.
I rolled my eyes. Dad sounded like the father on some old TV show!
"Well, thanks again," said Janine.
I wondered if Janine would thank me. After all, I had done what she'd asked and acted like an adult. I'd done my best, anyway. But I had a feeling she was still mad at me, since she had hardly spoken to me during dinner. I heard 'her start up the stairs, so I ran to my room and closed the door. I didn't feel like being glared at any more that day.
I started in on my math homework, -but before long I got stuck. I'll never understand why I need to know how to find the lowest common denominator. I'm positive I'll never use that in my adult life. I put down my math book and picked up the Nancy Drew I'd been reading. Then, just as I was getting to a really exciting part, I heard a knock on my door. "Come in," I said, expecting my mother.
It was Janine.
"Hi, Claud," she said. "Listen, I just wanted to thank you for being nice to Jerry."
"No prob," I said. "He's pretty nice himself."
"He said he thought you were really sweet - and cute."
I blushed. "He's crazy about you," I said. "I could tell by the way he looks at you."
"Really?" asked Janine. "You mean that?" Now she was blushing. "Well, anyway - " She paused for a minute. "I'm sorry I got so mad at you. I know you feel bad about spying on me, and I have to admit that I probably shouldn't have been lying and sneaking around. I just - "
"It's okay, Janine," I said, feeling mature. "Having a boyfriend is new for you. You didn't know how to act."
"That's right," she said. "I didn't. And I sure took some wrong steps along the way."
"That blue eyeshadow, for example," I said, grinning.
Janine looked hurt for a minute, but then she laughed. "Jerry hated that!" she said, giggling. I hardly ever hear Janine giggle. It sounded nice.
I sat on the bed and patted the place next to me. "So tell me everything," I said. "Like, why did you shake his hand that first time I followed you? I mean, people don't shake hands with their boyfriends."
"Well," she said shyly, "I guess we just weren't up to the kissing stage - yet." She glanced at me and smiled.
"Yet!" I said, raising my eyebrows. "Does that mean - ?"
She nodded, and I shrieked, "Oh, my lord!" I rolled over onto my back. "Janine, you really do have a boyfriend, don't you?"
"I really do."
We talked for about an hour after that, and she told me a million details about Jerry. I heard about the notes he liked to send her in the mail. (I guess I'd seen one of them get delivered!) I also heard about what his favorite foods and colors are, what kinds of music he likes, and why he doesn't wear wool shirts. (Because wool makes him too itchy, in case you're dying to know.) I even learned what his and Janine's "song" is - it's that one that got stuck in my mind that morning not long ago. No wonder Janine acted so strange when I sang it. Anyway, it was great to talk with Janine again, and really great to see how happy she was.
Before she left my room that night, Janine helped me with my math homework. And I gave her my red sweater - for keeps. It was good to be friends with my sister again.