No-Clue-What-Time-It-Is-Since-We-Keep-Crossing-Time-Zones p.m.

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No-Clue-What-Time-It-Is-Since-We-Keep-Crossing-Time-Zones p.m.

Dear TJ,

We’re in the air! Wahoo! I think we’re somewhere over the Atlantic. Perhaps over the Bahamas? Not that I can see the Bahamas. Looking out the window is like staring into a pool of black ink.

Becca is sitting next to me in the middle seat, paging through a Seventeen. Tommy, her twin brother, is on her other side, reading Let’s Go France. About fifteen others from our teen tour are on this flight. Mike, one of our tour guides, who is sitting diagonally from us, is already balding, even though he can’t be older than thirty. Joanna, the second tour guide, is sitting next to him. She’s wearing tight jeans and a Teens Tour France! T-shirt. I’d peg her as around twenty-three, at least eight years older than we are. Her teeth are blindingly white and she keeps turning back to us and smiling as though she’s in school and this is her class photo. She has outrageously long fingernails painted bright pink. If she keeps those florescent fingers away from my foreign fling we’ll get along just fine.

Becca and I have already outlined our rules. We are very good about making rules. In third grade we had club rules, in the fifth we had Barbie rules, and in the sixth we introduced boy rules. Since we both had a crush on a scrawny boy named Chet, we decided we’d each have to choose someone else to like. No hurt feelings allowed. We never liked the same guy again. And I’d know, ’cause we tell each other everything. I’m the person she called when her parents separated. She fed me banana sorbet after I got my wisdom teeth pulled. She’s going to be my BFF until we’re eighty and living on a beach in Florida, complaining about how our grandkids never call us and that we can’t hear the TV.

“Here’s my rule—I’m calling dibs on the Texan,” she whispered soon after takeoff, motioning with her head to a guy in a Teens Tour France! T-shirt sitting four rows back, near the bathrooms.

“Oh sure, take the only cute guy on the trip,” I said, poking her in the side.

“Uh, hello? Remember me? ” Tommy asked, waving. “I’m right here.”

Whoops. “Sorry Tommy,” I said, laughing. “One of two cute guys on the trip.” I felt kind of bad about that one. Of course Tommy’s cute. Not in a hello-I-need-to-make-out-with-you kind of way, but in a isn’t-he-sweet, brotherly kind of way. What can he expect? He looks too much like my almost-a-sister best friend for me to think of him any other way. They’re not identical, but they both have dark brown hair and the same foreheads. Of course, he’s almost six feet, and she’s barely five foot four. And he has his dad’s dark brown eyes, and she has her mother’s hazel ones. And her lips are pencil-thin and his are full. When his are outlined in lip liner, they’re especially humongous. Why would Tommy use lip liner? Part of one of our many “boomerang dares,” which involved all of us having to do things we didn’t want to do in the name of absurdity. In this case, we got to put makeup on him, but we had to drink Tommy’s Tornado, which was string cheese, raisins, Tabasco sauce, and seltzer, in the blender. Yum. Not.

There’s no mistaking me and Becca for twins. I have green eyes and light brown hair—stick-straight brown hair. Boring, boring, boring. Maybe I should get highlights to liven up my look? Or not. Becca tried highlights last year, and they were tough to keep up. She also tried lowlights and pink-lights and cropping it and extensions . . . Becca likes to try a lot of things. I, on the other hand, have never tried anything different or exciting.

Until now.

I returned my focus to Becca. “You know what? You can have everyone on the tour,” I said with determination. “I’m only considering men with accents.”

“Go, you!” Becca exclaimed, putting her arm around me. “I raised you well, little one.”

Becca likes to call me “little one” because at five foot one, I am the only person she knows who is shorter than she is.

“Long Islanders have an accent,” Tommy piped up with a grin.

Foreign accents,” I clarified. “Italians, Russians, Spaniards . . . but most especially, Frenchmen.”

Tommy kicked off his Adidas sneakers and pushed them under the seat in front of him. “What about Brits? Or Australians? Who gets them?”

“Good question,” Becca said. “I do like Brits. And Australian guys are super sexy. They’re all tanned, muscled, and blond.”

“You can have anyone who speaks English,” I told her. “The only language I’m speaking is the language of love.”

That’s when Tommy groaned and said, “You’re such a cheeseball, Lindster.” He reclined his seat, pulled out his iPod, and put in his earbuds.

Becca is poking my side now. She wants to play the travel Battleship she brought. Gotta run. Not that I’m GOING anywhere . . . except France . . . oh, whatever. Can you tell this is the first time I’ve ever kept a diary?

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