Just Kiss Me - Rachel Gibson

Chapter 1

The Diary of Vivien Leigh Rochet

Keep out! Do NOT read under Penalty of Death!!

Dear Diary,

It’s official!!!! I hate Ms. Eleanor Whitley-Shuler. Everyone calls her Nonnie. Not me. I call her the Mantis because she is long and skinny and has bug eyes. Mr. Shuler died the year after Momma and I moved into the carriage house. His name was Fredrickk, but I don’t remember him or how he died. I was just a baby, but I bet the Mantis bit off his head. I know she wants to bite off mine. Momma says the Whitley-Shulers are our friends, but I said they aren’t. We work for them and live in their carriage house. Momma says I need to be sweet, but I don’t want to be sweet. Momma says I can’t hate anyone, but the Mantis told Momma I’m as plump as a drop dumpling, and I shouldn’t eat so much ice cream. When she wasn’t looking, I knocked over a stupid dog figurine. ON PURPOSE!!

Dear Diary,

I hate school!!! Every year my teachers say my last name wrong. They say, Vivien Ro-chet. I have to tell them it’s pronounced Ro-shay. I’ve been going to Charleston Day School since kindergarten. For eight years, the teachers get my name wrong on the first day every year. (Okay, so maybe I don’t remember the first day of kindergarten.) The kids at school laugh and call me roach-ette. I hate them and they’ll all be sorry someday when I’m a famous movie star. They’ll all want to be my friend, but I won’t let them. I won’t let them see my movies or come to the big house I’m going to buy my momma someday. Except Lottie and Glory. They can come. They’re my friends and we eat lunch together. Glory gets to wear a bra this year. Momma says I don’t need a bra. NO FAIR!!!

Dear Diary,

Death to the Mantis!!! When me and Momma were cleaning the big house today, the Mantis said I have to vacuum because she doesn’t trust me to dust. She says I have too many accidents. She says I’m clumsy and she’s afraid I’ll knock over pictures of her super stupid sons, Henry and Spence, again. I’m twelve—almost thirteen. I’m not clumsy and I don’t have accidents. I have on purpose, and who cares about Henry and Spence? They go away to school and only come home for holidays. They’re buttheads. Especially Henry. He doesn’t laugh or smile or anything. I call him Scary Henry or Butthead Henry. He’s five years older than me but acts a lot older. His black eyeballs glare into mine like he can read my brain. He looks at me as if he knows I knock things over on purpose and lie about it. But he never says anything. Like last summer when someone knocked over the stupid lawn jockey and broke off its stupid arm. The Mantis said it was really old and had been in their family since before the war. She said it was probably my fault. She said I must have messed with it and knocked it over, but I said I didn’t. Henry stared at me with his black eyes like I’m a liar and Spence laughed because … Spence is crazy and laughs at everything. I cried really loud and ran inside the carriage house before the Mantis could bite off my head. Who cares about a stupid lawn jockey? It’s so heavy it could kill a kid. It’s not a kid’s fault that it can fall over if you stand on its shoulders to see a bird’s nest in the tree. In case anyone finds this and reads it, I’m innocent!!!

Dear Diary,

I ran all the way home from school because Momma said she was taking me to see the sand castles on Folly Beach. When I walked in the door, I knew we wouldn’t go. Momma was on the couch with the patchwork blanket that Mamaw made her. She was rubbing it with her fingers and staring at the ceiling like she does when she has a sad spell. I’m not calling Mamaw Roz to come and get me this time. I’m almost thirteen (in seven months) and can take care of myself. I can take care of Momma now, too. I hate her sad spells. I hope this one doesn’t last really long. !!!

Dear Diary,

Today me and Momma walked to the store for strawberry Moon Pies and Coca-Cola. Momma was in one of her happy