MY LIFE AND OTHER MASSIVE MISTAKES
Here’s a sneak peek inside this LO Larious new novel – it’ll have you in stitches!
Stella Holling: Sugar Rush
I think I must have done something wrong in a previous life, and payback is standing on my front doorstep. ‘To-om!’ she sings. ‘Open u-up!’ I am in my lounge room, peering through a crack at the edge of the curtain. The TV mutters in the background. Stella Holling is on the veranda holding a large white box. She is freckled, skinny and short, with a chocolates-mothered mouth. She is wearing pinkand-white bunny ears on her head. I never thought she’d come here again. A man should feel safe in his own home. ‘I know you’re in there,’ she says. ‘Kissy, kiss-y!’ Stella Holling has been in love with me since second grade. One time, not too long ago, she tricked me into kissing her on the lips in front of about 50 high-school boys. It was the darkest day of my life. I still scrub my lips with soap every night but it doesn’t wash away the pain. At least, that time, we were in the playground. There were witnesses. Today, I’m home alone. Mum and my sister Tanya are out shopping. They’ll be gone for hours. I eke the curtain open a little more. The chocolate smeared around Stella’s mouth scares me, it really does. It’s Easter Monday and I’ll bet you 50 bucks she’s been stuffing her gob with cheap chocolate for two days straight. And you know what the main ingredient in cheap chocolate is? Sugar. Stella goes cuckoo when she eats sugar. I once saw her scale the school flagpole after a handful of M&M’s. Mr Barnes, the maintenance guy, had to climb the 13-metre extension ladder to save her. I’ve been dodging Stella’s phone calls for weeks. Every afternoon she rings me ten, 12, sometimes 20 times. Usually she doesn’t say anything, but I know that wheezy breathing when her throat is thick with chocolate. And it’s been getting worse. On Thursday I ignored ten calls, then I picked up and screamed, ‘Whaddya want, you creepy freak?’ But it wasn’t Stella. It was Mum. And she was really angry because I hadn’t been answering the phone. I told her I’d been in the bath and she said, ‘You haven’t willingly taken a bath in your life, Tom Weekly.’ There’s no way I could say that I didn’t answer the phone because of Stella. I did that once and Mum rang Stella’s mum, and they decided we should all get together to discuss the
situation. She invited them over on a Saturday afternoon. The mums ate biscuits and drank tea and had the greatest time of their lives, while I was left to entertain Stella and show her around the house. She tried to kiss me on the cheek the second we were out of our mothers’ sight and I screamed. Mum said, ‘Stop being a baby, Tom.’ Me! A baby! I’m one of the toughest guys I know. After Stella and her mother left, Mum said, ‘Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Little Stella’s not too scary for you, is she?’ And she made me feel like I actually was a baby, which I’m not. I know one thing for sure: Stella Holling is never setting foot inside this house again. She pounds on the front door. ‘Let me in, Tom. Please. I just want to give you your Easter present.’ She’s staring right at me now. She knows I’m watching her from behind the curtain. She opens up the big white box. She bats her eyelashes, which makes me shiver. She reaches into the box and pulls out the largest Easter rabbit I’ve ever seen. It’s the one from the window of the French patisserie on Jonson Street. It is smooth and wrapped in gold foil with a bright red ribbon around its neck, and the second I see it I know that I must have it. I have not eaten a single sliver of chocolate this Easter. Mum decided to give our Easter egg money to charity, so I went hungry and a kid in some faraway land got a rooster and a set of pencils. I know I should feel happy for him, but it’s hard. ‘Can I come in now?’ Stella asks. I move away from the window. I need time to think. I want the rabbit but I cannot kiss Stella Holling. Not again. The question is, how do I get the rabbit without the kiss? I go to the front door. ‘Stella?’ I call out. ‘Yessy?’ she says. ‘You can leave the rabbit on the doorstep. Thank you for coming over . . . Happy Easter.’ I wait. I listen. I pray. She giggles. ‘You don’t think I’m going to just leave this big, bootiful, expensive wabbit without seeing you in the flesh, do you?’ ‘Um . . . maybe?’ She giggles again. ‘You’re so silly, Tom. That’s why I love you.’ ‘I would prefer that you didn’t say that, Stella.’ ‘Why?’ ‘You know that I love Sasha,’ I tell her for the millionth time. ‘No, you don’t. You just think you do.’ ‘Pretty sure I do.’ ‘Oh, Tom. You don’t know what love is,’ she says. ‘You’re just a boy. When we get married –’ ‘We’re not getting married, Stella. For the last time, we are not getting married.’ ‘Not now, Mr Silly,’ she says. ‘It’s not even legal to get married at our age. But when we’re old enough . . . I’ve planned the whole thing. We’re going to have –’ ‘ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE ME THE RABBIT OR NOT?’ I shout. Awkward pause. ‘I will if you show some manners and don’t act like a greedy, ungrateful little piggy.’ This is going to be more difficult than I thought. ‘Just drop the rabbit on the doorstep and take three large steps back,’ I say. ‘Then I’ll –’ ‘You drop the attitude and wash your mouth out with soap and water!’ she snips. ‘I’m getting the feeling you don’t want to see me, Tom, which upsets me.’ ‘Don’t get weird, Stella. It’s just –’ I hear footsteps moving across the veranda. ‘You still there?’ I call. Nothing. ‘Stella?’ Silence. I go to the window and peek out. A breeze picks up, making Mum’s hanging pot plants swing from side to side...