The Adventures of Lilly
Book One – The Beauty Pageant
Lilly’s parents stayed until everything was under control and back to normal and the girls were safely in their rooms. Extra security guards were on hand that night and would be until the end of the pageant. Gwynet and Cathy were thrilled to be able to read out of their own Bibles. Conversation ran deep into the night even after the lights were out.
“Are you afraid, Lilly?” asked Gwynet.
“Not really. I prayed for God to protect us and I believe He will. At least no one was hurt.”
“I wonder who would do such an awful thing,” said Gwynet.
“Someone who is mad and who does not want to see the pageant go on,” said Cathy.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Gwynet.
“Well, I did see Casey leave the dining room. She returned a few minutes before we were told to leave the building,” said Cathy.
“You don’t think she did it, do you?” asked Gwynet.
“I don’t put it far from her. She has been angry since the ketchup incident and especially since everyone now knows she did it. She was so embarrassed to have us see her clean up the ketchup mess she made. I know I would be.”
“Where would she get the matches from to start the fire?” asked Gwynet.
“Beats me. She’ll find a way just as she found a way to get the ketchup bottles. What do you think Lilly?” asked Cathy.
There was no answer, only deep breathing. “Well, good night, Gwynet. I think we had better do the same.”
A heated discussion was taking place in Casey’s room. Samantha decided to confront her about her unkind acts toward Lilly. She felt badly about not telling anyone about Casey’s plan to ketchup paint Lilly’s room door. She was getting tired of hanging with Casey and her bad attitude and complaining ways.
“No need to be angry, Casey. We told you to leave Lilly alone and not to plaster ketchup on their door. But you would not listen.”
“I could have pulled it off if you all had helped me,” snapped Casey.
“And that was mighty mean of you to frame Lilly using her initials when you put the lipstick writing on the doors. When are you going to stop your sneaky ways and leave Lilly alone? She has never done you any wrong,” said Samantha.
“Oh, shut up!” said Casey.
“No, I will not shut up! Where did you go any way at lunch time? You disappeared for a good while. Did you have anything to do with the fire?” asked Samantha.
“I said, shut up!” answered Casey with much anger. She took a step towards Samantha.
“And aren’t you supposed to stay with the group and not go off by yourself?” continued Samantha.
Kwanza was sitting on her bed watching the whole exchange. She thought for sure Casey was about to slap Samantha. If she had to take sides, she would have to side with Samantha.
“Did you have anything to do with the fire?” Samantha asked again. Casey turned her back to her. “You did, didn’t you? How could you be so mean, Casey Lewis? Because you got caught, you want to destroy everyone’s fun! What if someone had gotten hurt in the fire. Casey, how could you be so mean? And to think you were my friend.”
Samantha broke down in tears. Kwanza placed an arm around her shoulders. Samantha felt badly because she had laughed at some of the earlier pranks Casey had played on Lilly. She did not know Casey would go this far. What could she do to make it up to Lilly? Both her and Kwanza fell off to sleep leaving Casey sitting in the chair before the mirror. A security guard would be standing by their dorm room all night and on and off throughout the day because of the ketchup incident and other things Casey had done so she dared not go out the door. She was slouching with her hands in her pocket squeezing the lighter. This time she did not feel victorious. She felt defeated.
The next day, Sunday, a meeting was held in the dining room after breakfast. Mrs. Roqueville, Ms. Jameson and the other workers were there. Mrs. Roqueville pleaded with the girls for them to tell her anything they knew about the fire. Because they were so close to the final day, the pageant was still going to go on as scheduled but they would have to wait until Wednesday to pick out their clothing. She told all the girls to be careful and to always stay with their group. She, herself, had to leave, but Ms. Jameson and the other workers would be around if someone needed to tell something they knew about the fire or if they saw anything suspicious.
Ms. Jameson spoke with the girls at length about the bullying that had been going on towards one of the contestants. Many heads turned in the direction where Casey was sitting. Her eyes were glued to a spot on the table before her. Ms. Jameson assured the girls that the bullying would no longer be tolerated. “This is not what these three weeks are about,” she said. “These three weeks are a time for you to make new friends while having fun; it is a time for you to have a dream and to work at it; it is a time to possibly make a difference in someone’s life.”
Lilly felt good she did tell Ms. Jameson about what was going on. She felt sorry for Casey and was praying harder for her. After the meeting, Samantha, accompanied by Kwanza, stopped by Ms. Jameson and told her about the conversation she and Casey had the night before. Kwanza backed up everything she said. On their way out the office, Dominique and a few others went to see Ms. Jameson. They told her about knowing of Casey’s plan to carry out the ketchup painting and apologized for not telling her. She accepted their apologies and told them to come clean about things in life.
With all this evidence, Ms. Jameson had no choice but to disqualify Casey from taking part in the pageant. Casey was surprised, but not surprised at the turn of events. In fact, she felt a little relief knowing she deserved every punishment that came to her. After her parents were notified, they agreed that she could finish off her week there before coming home. Samantha and Kwanza felt sorry for her and tried their best to be friendly towards her.
Monday went by without incident. Tuesday, a day they had been looking forward to, could not have come soon enough. It was the day for their final rehearsal. The day would go exactly as the actual pageant day would go. Everything was scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. and would go in this order:
1. Contestants presented to audience (here they would walk on the stage as their names were called out)
2. Contestants would sport different clothing styles of their choice:
3. With their formal wear on, contestants would be interviewed and would be required to answer six questions. (They would not know the questions ahead of time.)
a. How important is family to you?
b. How important is education to you?
c. Who is God to you?
d. If you had to do one thing to relieve the world of hunger and suffering, what would it be?
e. What do you like to do in your spare time?
f. Do you have any suggestions to make this pageant better?
4. Each contestant will perform her talent on stage.
5. A winner will be chosen by the judges.
The girls had fun and were quite worn out by the time everything was over with. They made some mistakes, but the main thing was they were enjoying what they were doing.
As part of her punishment, Casey had to sit in and watch everything that went on. She began to feel extremely guilty about all she had done, but deep down she was happy for everyone.