Who is Mel Randall, Anyway?
by H.J. Lewis
Mel Randall's new neighbor, Diana, is nothing like Mel. Diana doesn't like to canoe or swim. She cares more about clothes, nail polish, and magazines. Diana gives Mel a makeover. Mel's friend, Allison, likes the old Mel. Diana's cute brother, Ted, likes the new Mel. The question is - who is the real Mel Randall?
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This book is part of the Deer Lake series.
To read the first chapter of Who is Mel Randall, Anyway?, click here. Enjoy!
Read an interview with the author, or visit her myspace page.
Other Tea Leaf Press books by H.J. Lewis:
Summer of Change
The Accidental Camper
Who is Mel Randall, Anyway?
The room was quiet. Two shadowy figures sat on the kitchen counter. They were looking out a small window. One held a pair of binoculars.
"They have been in there for more than sixteen hours."
"Well, they have to come out sometime. They can't hide in there forever."
Mel Randall was sitting on the counter with her feet in the sink. Her friend Allison Suwan sat across from her.
The window above the sink gave them a clear view of the cottage next door. Mel held the binoculars up to her eyes. She leaned forward. At the same time, Allison leaned forward to look. They bumped heads.
Mel almost dropped the binoculars. Allison rubbed her head. "Watch it!" she said, a look of alarm in her dark eyes. "My mom will kill me if I break her binoculars."
"Sorry," Mel whispered. She tucked her shoulder-length brown hair behind her ears. She held up the binoculars again and looked out the window.
"See anything?" Allison asked.
"Nothing," Mel reported.
"If they don't come out today, I vote that we go in," said Allison.
The girls heard a sound behind them. Mel's older sister Lindsay was standing in the kitchen. She rubbed her eyes. Her long blond hair was pulled back in a braid.
"What are you two doing up so early?" she asked sleepily.
Mel looked at the clock on the stove. "Early? What are you talking about, Linz? It's eight-thirty already!"
Before Lindsay could reply, Mr. Randall walked in. He was wearing red bathing shorts. A towel hung around his neck.
"Good morning, girls!" he said. "It's a beautiful day on Deer Lake! Who wants to come swimming?"
Lindsay groaned. "I'm going back to bed." She left the room.
"Why do sixteen-year-olds seem to need so much sleep?" Mr. Randall asked.
"I don't know," Mel replied. "I'll let you know when I turn sixteen."
"Thank goodness that won't be for a couple of years," Mr. Randall sighed. "Speaking of birthdays, Mel, don't you have one coming up soon?"
"Yes!" said Mel, her brown eyes lighting up. "Two more weeks and I'll be fourteen."
"Cool," said Allison. "What are you doing for your birthday?"
"I have an idea," said Mr. Randall. "Let's go out for a special dinner."
"Yes!" Mel cheered. "Can we go to Manhattan Pizza?" She turned to Allison. "Best pizza in Deer Lake."
Mr. Randall nodded. "Sure."
"Thanks, Dad." Mel grinned.
Mr. Randall walked to the door and looked out at the lake behind the cottage. "So, are you coming for a swim?"
Mel shook her head and picked up the binoculars. "We're busy, Dad." She peered out the window again.
"I see," said Mr. Randall. "Any sign of the new neighbors?"
"Not yet," Allison said. "But it's just a matter of time."
Mr. Randall went outside for his morning swim. The kitchen door banged behind him. The girls heard a few running footsteps on the dock. Then they heard a loud splash.
Mel passed the binoculars to Allison. Her friend took a turn watching the cottage next door. A new family had just moved in. Mel had spotted two young teenagers. She and Allison wanted to meet them, but the neighbors were nowhere to be seen.
This morning, the neighbors' car was in their driveway. "They must be home," Mel said. What were they doing? she wondered. Why were they not outside on such a beautiful day? Why hadn't they come over to meet their neighbors?
"Maybe they are late sleepers," Allison said.
"Oh no," groaned Mel. "If they sleep as much as Lindsay, we'll be here until noon!"
"Hey," said Allison, "let's go canoeing. We can check out their cottage from the lake!"
"Good idea!" Mel climbed out of the sink and jumped off the counter.
The girls went out to the deck at the back of the Randalls' cottage. Out of habit, they looked over at the neighbors' cottage. Allison started braiding her thick, black hair. "It looks like they are finished all the construction," she said. She tied a hair band around the end of her braid.
The new neighbors had really fixed up the cottage next door. They added a sunroom on the back. There was a huge new dock and a boathouse. People in Deer Lake were saying that they must be really rich. No one knew for sure, though. No one had met them.
What will the new neighbors think of our place? Mel wondered. She looked up at the Randalls' tiny brown and white cottage. It wasn't fancy, but it had been her summer home for thirteen years. She loved it.
"Are you ready to go?" Mel asked Allison.
Her friend grinned. "Let's move out!"
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