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«Baby-Sitters Club 094», Ann Martin

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В В В  "I know, but I wouldn't like living in the city. I've only been there a few times and it seemed so noisy and big." "Who cares about a little noise? And the bigness makes it exciting," I countered.

В В В  "No, the city isn't for me." "I bet I could make a city lover out of you," I said, lightly squeezing his hand. "You just haven't seen the good parts yet. You need someone like me to guide you. For example, during the day Broadway looks sort of seedy but at night, when it's all lit up, it's magic." "I've never even been to Broadway, Stacey." "Well, then someday we'll go. Together," I said. "You'll love it." "I don't know." Robert shook his head. "I don't think we'll ever agree about this one." "We could," I said optimistically. "Once I give you the Stacey McGill super city tour you'll be as big a fan as I am. Oh, Robert, I wish you could see the city the way I do. It's so amazing. Every corner has some interesting discovery. You know, we like almost the same things. That's why I'm so sure you'd like the city if you gave it a chance." "Oh, forget it," Robert said with a laugh. "I'll stay here in Stoneybrook and say that I once knew supermodel Stacey McGill." I smiled, embarrassed but pleased. "I doubt it." "You could be," Robert insisted. "You're pretty enough. You're more than pretty, you're beautiful. You already look like a model." "Thanks," I said.

В В В  I don't think I'd want to be a model. It sounds boring. I'll probably do something with math, which I'm really good at. But I was very happy that Robert thought I could be a supermodel if I wanted to be. "That's really nice to hear," I added.

В В В  Robert leaned forward, bringing his face closer to mine.

В В В  And then . . . the phone rang.

В В В  Robert laughed and pulled back away from me. "Better get it." Rolling my eyes, I stood up and answered the phone. "Hello?" "Can we afford more glue?" It was Kristy. I know her voice.

В В В  "Hi, Kristy. And how are you?" I teased.

В В В  "Sorry. Hi. Do we have enough money for glue? Mary Anne and I are at the mall. I was thinking it would be fun to make valentines with the kids but we need glue. Can we afford it?" "How much glue are you buying?" I asked.

В В В  "Let me ask Mary Anne," said Kristy.

В В В  I suppose I should explain. I'm treasurer of a business called the Baby-Sitters Club (or BSC, for short). Kristy is the president and Mary Anne is the secretary. I'll tell you more about it later.

В В В  Kristy got back on the phone. "Mary Anne says five bottles of glue should do it. They're a dollar fifty each." I did a quick mental tally of the dues I'd collected, and subtracted the club expenses we still had to pay out. I added the dues I'd collect next Monday to that sum. "Go for it," I told Kristy.

В В В  "Thanks," she replied. "See you tomorrow." "That was Kristy," I told Robert as I hung up. "She wanted to know if we could afford glue." "She's the president. Why doesn't she just go ahead and buy it?" Robert asked.

В В В  "You know Kristy," I said. "She does everything by the book." Thanks to Kristy, the romantic mood between Robert and me was broken. We opened our math books and started going over our homework. We had moved on to computer science homework by the time I heard Mom come through the front door. "Hi, you guys," she said cheerfully, rubbing her hands to warm up as she entered the kitchen.

В В В  "Hi, Mrs. McGill," Robert said.

В В В  "Hi, Mom. How was work?" I asked.

В В В  Mom started taking food for dinner out of the cupboards. "Zooey. Can you believe we're already ordering summer clothing from the factories?" "That's encouraging," I said. "It means spring will come someday." "I know what you mean," Mom said. "It sure seems far away right now." Robert and I worked for another half hour until he had to go home for dinner. "So long, Mrs. McGill. 'Bye, Stacey." " 'Bye." I walked him to the door, then returned to the kitchen.

В В В  Mom handed me a head of lettuce and I began breaking it up into the large wooden salad bowl. I love this time of day when Mom and I prepare supper together. We talk about the day's events and how we feel about things that have happened. I'm lucky to have such an understanding mom. I can discuss anything with her. She's a parent but she's also a friend. We do a lot of things together and usually have a great time. Since the divorce I think Mom has been kind of lonely, so she looks forward to the time we spend together, too.

В В В  "Mom, can you believe Robert has never been to a Broadway play?" I asked thoughtfully.

В В В  Mom smiled. "A lot of people have never been to Broadway." "I bet he would love it," I said. "Especially a musical." Suddenly I had a brilliant idea. Robert's birthday was next month. I'd been racking my brain trying to think of the perfect gift for him. So far, I'd come up blank. But now I had it! "I'm going to take Robert to a Broadway musical for his birthday!" I told Mom excitedly.

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