DON'T YOU WISH
When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universewhere her life becomespicture perfect. Now she’s Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother, but different father—and she's the hot, rich, A-list queen bee of her Miami high school.
In this universe, Ayla has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire -- if usually absent -- father. Here her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilarating…and illegal. Here she's got a date to punch her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.
But on the inside Ayla is still Annie.
So when she’s offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to dreary Pittsburgh, will she take it?
The choice isn't as simple as you think.
I’m kind of hesitant to look in the mirror. I mean, I have to, right? But something deep inside just knows that looking in the mirror will probably end the dream. Slowly, I lift my gaze, holding my breath, bracing for…
“Oh!” The exclamation comes out the second my eyes focus, my hand slapping the gasp back in my mouth. I think it’s my hand. It has to be my hand because it’s moving in a mirror that I’m in front of, so that’s me, isn’t it?
I take a step closer. Yes, that is most certainly me. Only…improved.
This face is mine, only so much better.
I lean a little closer, expecting it all to end any second. Theo will come burp me awake or the clock radio will blare or the phone will ring or something will end the dream that just got really, really good.
But none of that happens. I get even closer, squinting in disbelief, then my eyes widen in happy shock.
Look at my hair! No, not my hair. Not my thin, drab, lifeless hair that Mom always apologizes for giving me, promising highlights for my next birthday. This hair is just…shampoo commercial worthy.
I touch it, unable to resist running my fingers through the chocolate locks, threading the caramel-colored highlights that are so expertly woven in. Stick straight, too, like someone spent the whole night flatironing it, which they’d have to because it’s so damn thick.
And my eyes? They’re still big, wide set, but the blue-gray I’m used to seeing is green now, almost emerald. Contacts? I blink, but nothing changes.
My fingers graze my skin, which is buttery smooth, my cheekbones more prominent, my nose a tad smaller, but still mine. And look at that chin! Is that a little cleft in the middle? Omigawd is that not the cutest thing ever?
I take a step back, a smile unstoppable. The braces are off!
I’m freaking beautiful!
The realization makes me giggle a little, putting my hands on my hips to give those incredible locks a shake over my shoulders, but the move pulls my gaze south, to the V neck of the silky nightgown I’m wearing.
I grab my chest – now these, thank you very much, are boobs. A handful at least. Maybe a C cup! Su-weet!
Sliding my palms down, I slip over a narrow waist and I turn, tightening the nightgown so I can see the shape of my back side.
Well goodbye No-Fanny Annie. Wait ‘til I tell Lizzie her nickname is no good in this dream.
I laugh a little, my hand to my mouth for the auto-cover of braces, only to remember the braces aren’t there. I realize I’m shaking, either from shock or pleasure or terror. Placing both hands on the counter, which feels solid and real, I lean all the way into the mirror and look right into those gorgeous greens.
“Annie Nutter, this is a dream.”
I nod back in total agreement. I’ve always had Dad’s hyperdrive imagination and some wild and crazy dreams to go with it. Nothing quite like this, but still.
“This is the best dream you’ve ever had,” I tell the reflection. “So just go with it. Before you know it, you’ll wake up on Rolling Rock Road, boobless, buttless, Chanel shoeless.”
I inch back a few steps, unable to wipe the smile from my face. “Now, dream,” I say to my imagination. “What should I do next?”
Oh, like that’ll be a supreme hardship. I start to climb over another towel, but stop, picking it up out of habit, and shaking it open to hang on the towel rack.
As I smooth the velvety cloth, I notice a turquoise-colored A embroidered on the corner. A for Annie?
Still smiling at the wonder that is my dreamy imagination, I head to the closet for some fantasy threads.
The underwear drawers are a mess of silk and cotton candy, an array of the sweetest little strips of satin and lace I’ve ever seen. Even the bra I choose – which I certainly need with these most excellent ta-tas – is lemon yellow with a flower made of teeny little pearls that take my breath away.
I pick designer jeans labeled “Seven For All Mankind” and step in, somehow not at all surprised they fit like, well, a dream. Rolled in the top drawer I find five, no six, different Juicy Couture T-shirts, all with the tags still attached. I choose a deep purple to match my funky toes and bite off the price tag, but not before checking it.
Hello? What idiot would pay $198 for T-shirt? Wait’ll I tell Lizzie about this.
I could spend an hour picking shoes, but settle on some cool Michael Kors platform espadrilles and leave the closet, still marveling at that magic light when I close the door. Back in the bathroom, I try a little dream makeup, not surprised the MAC and Bobbi Brown go on better than HIP from L’Oreal.
When I look at the finished product, I smile again. I might never want to ---
“Miss Ayla!” A loud knock on the bedroom door jolts me out of my thoughts. But, thankfully, not the dream. If Theo wakes me now, his death will be slow and painful. “Are you awake, Miss Ayla?”
The voice is female, lightly accented, a little desperate.
“It is the first day of school, Miss Ayla. You must get up right this very minute.” She jiggles the handle furiously. “Please.”
I walk to the door and unlock it, opening it to find myself face to face with a dark-haired woman in a crisp navy dress with an apron over it. Under one arm, she carries an empty wicker basket.
“Oh my God!” She steps back, her hand to her mouth, her eyes wide.
“What? What is it?”
“I don’t believe what I see.”
Well, join the club, lady. That seems to be the way things go around here.
But I just invite her in, dying to know more.