I’m not dreaming, Olivia Abbott thought. She ran her fingers over the layers of pink chiffon that stretched out from her waist as she sat in the back of the limousine with her sister. The rhinestones on her pink peep-toe shoes winked at her.
On the other side of the black dividing screen was a chauffeur with white gloves. There was enough room for ten back here, but her bio-dad, and chaperone for the evening, was sitting up front to let them have some privacy. Olivia was on her way to the biggest event of her whole life. It was like a fairy tale come true – without the wicked stepsisters.
‘This is so much fun,’ she squealed to her twin sister, who was sitting across from her, flipping through the song playlists on the limo’s custom sound system.
Ivy Vega tilted her head to the side, making the black chopsticks holding back her dark hair look like the hands of a clock. ‘You mean, you enjoy wearing beautiful dresses and driving in cars through crowds of paparazzi all desperate to know who you are? How strange!’
Olivia stuck her tongue out. ‘The dresses, definitely. The car, a little bit, but the photographers . . . not so much,’ she replied. She didn’t want crazed cameramen following her every move; she just wanted to see the first movie she’d ever been in. ‘The main thing is the movie!’
A few months ago, Olivia had won a small part in The Groves, which starred the two biggest Hollywood actors on the planet: Jackson Caulfield and Jessica Phelps – and this Saturday night was the movie’s nationwide premiere right here in Franklin Grove.
‘My sister, the movie star.’ Ivy leaned forwards, holding out her hand like she had a pad of paper. ‘May I have your autograph?’
Olivia gave an exaggerated toss of her hair and put her nose in the air. ‘I don’t do autographs.’
Then the two sisters burst into giggles.
Olivia couldn’t imagine anyone ever wanting her autograph. Things like that just don’t happen to normal girls like me, she thought. It still felt a little unreal that she was going to walk down a red carpet.
‘Now let’s see what goodies we’ve got in here.’ Ivy lifted a leather armrest, revealing a bottle of sparkling punch and a bowl of cherries. Lifting the bottle out of the built-in chiller, Ivy pointed out the label advertising the film. ‘They don’t miss an opportunity for promotion,’ she said wryly.
Since the announcement that The Groves would be fast-tracked through production to make a spring release, Franklin Grove had been inundated with advertisements. Even Olivia was beginning to tire of the posters that adorned every billboard and shop window in town with Jackson and Jessica’s smiling faces.
She looked out of the tinted window to see clusters of people under the streetlights holding up handwritten signs and trying to peer into the cars. The advertising had clearly worked because everyone seemed near hysteria. The limo was two blocks from Franklin Grove’s Picturedrome, where the premiere was taking place, but the car could only creep forwards because of all the crowds.
‘Jack-son, Jack-son, Jack-son,’ chanted a group of four girls clustered on the sidewalk wearing matching cowboy boots, just like the ones Jackson wore.
Olivia’s heart thumped a little quicker. After an embarrassing introduction a few months ago, Jackson Caulfield, mega-star, had actually become her boyfriend. Just thinking about it made her swoon a little. She was dating the biggest teen star on the planet! But it was a total secret to the outside world.
Jackson’s manager, Amy Teller, had decided that it would upset Jackson’s fans if he had a girlfriend, so the two of them still hadn’t gone public. It wasn’t the biggest secret in Olivia’s life – that was the whole vampires-are-real thing she’d learned when she found out about Ivy’s dietary requirements. But keeping her romance quiet meant that she couldn’t be seen with Jackson as anything other than a friend and fellow actor. Hard, when all she wanted to do was kiss him!
She looked across the limo at her sister, who was wearing a goth-gorgeous black Chinese dress with red dragons embroidered over it. They looked like complete opposites, but that was just going to make it more fun to walk down the red carpet together. If she couldn’t walk down with Jackson, Ivy was the next best partner.
‘You certainly look ready for your debut,’ Ivy said. ‘That dress is amazing.’
‘Thanks,’ Olivia replied. ‘But you mean: our red carpet debut. You’re coming with me!’
‘No way!’ Ivy leaned back into her seat. ‘I’m putting a jacket over my head and sneaking in the side entrance. Besides, the two of us together would look like a fairy princess and her evil stepmother.’
‘Come on, Ivy!’ Olivia protested. ‘I know you don’t like the fuss, but people really won’t be watching us. They’re all waiting for Jessica and Jackson.’
The limo crept around the corner and suddenly the dark sky was lit up by spotlights, camera flashes and a huge neon sign announcing the premiere of The Groves.
‘Pardon me,’ came the driver’s posh voice over the car’s speakers. ‘We shall be arriving shortly.’
Ivy shook her head. ‘All this glitz and glamour is not my style. This is one twin request too far,’ she said, avoiding Olivia’s eye. ‘Sorry, sis.’
‘Wait a minute,’ Olivia said. ‘You have dressed up as a cheerleader for me. You have worn pink, auditioned for a movie and giggled like your life depended on it for me – why is this any worse?’
Ivy bit her bottom lip.