A weekend later, Lilly and Mrs. Hill gathered with Adria and her show-runner mother, Mrs. Ava Sinise, at their favorite brunch shop, Cafe21, in sunny San Diego. They ordered their food and never stopped chatting once it was served.
“Adria, don’t dump all that sugar in your coffee,” Mrs. Sinise advised her daughter.
Adria refrained from opening her thirteenth packet of sugar over her cup of java. Instead, she stuffed it into her leather handbag with the roly-poly key chain. “Don’t worry, Mom. If anything, I’m only killing myself,” she joked.
Mrs. Sinise choked on her tea. “Honey, how morbid!” she exclaimed. “And don’t be so selfish. If you die, it will affect us all, and me worst of all.”
Mrs. Hill patted her friend on the back.
“Love in the time of death,” Lilly sighed dramatically. “Be kind to thy mother, Adria. Now, let’s not talk about sad stuff.”
“Aye, seester,” Adria agreed. “Lemme tell you about all the boring stuff that happened while you were away from the homestead.”
“Hit me with it, Barbie,” Lilly said, though she highly doubted if any of it was boring. “Did you finally destroy that evil Alice in Wonderland themed poster from your bedroom wall?”
“No,” Adria replied. “I’m keeping it up until I get my first movie role. Mom offered to try and get me a role in her TV show, but, no, I graciously declined because I so want to star in movies.”
“That’s right,” Mrs. Sinise piped in.
“Oh, that reminds me. Did you get the role in that big drama movie? How did the audition go?” Lilly asked.
“Well, the audition went superb, and it could have gone super-perb if there hadn’t been like a bajillion other girls who looked like me and did just as good as me. The part went to a girl named Cheyenne Hillary Heist. Actually, I don’t know if that’s her birth name. It’s best to say she is called that. Some actors make up part of the name they wish to be known as when they get all famous. I tried to call you several times.”
“Aww, yeah. My phone was probably out of power then, and you know how I am about checking missed calls. Next time text me. I’m so sorry about the audition. Trust me, the perfect role is waiting for you. I just know it!”
Adria flipped her blonde hair. “They said ‘no’ to perfect. I was just, like, ‘your loss.’”
Lilly stirred her tea with a Pixy Stix. “To be honest, though, I think if you took that weird poster down from your wall, you might have better luck,” she joked.
“Aye, whatever,” Adria said. “I have something else kinda sad and not boring to tell you about.”
Mrs. Sinise, who had been talking to Mrs. Hill, stopped mid-sentence. Adria caught the look of girlish glee come over her mother’s face. She covered her mother’s mouth with her hand to stop her from blurting out the news. “I’m telling,” Adria said.
“What is it?” Lilly asked.
“My oldest brother’s getting married,” Adria groaned.
Mrs. Sinise applauded. “Yup, darlings! Sig is engaged. I can hardly believe my first baby is getting married.” Instantly, she turned back to Mrs. Hill and the two of them began planning for Sig’s wedding.
“Believe it, Mom,” Adria sighed.
“Who’s the lucky lady? And why do you sound so glum about him getting married?” Lilly questioned.
“Well, the ‘lucky lady’ is this lady from Georgia, Natalie Hersher Simi. I think it is,” Adria began.
“She won’t have to change her last name much,” Lilly commented.
“Not really,” Adria agreed. “I’m going to suggest they just combine the two last names into a portmanteau — Simise!”
“So splendid!” Lilly giggled.
“Anyway, Lilly, Sig said they met on one of his Doctors Without Borders tours. And they’re already planning to start an organization together called, ‘Missionary Impossible.’ Cheesy, right? They got the name from those Tom Cruise movies.”
“How old is Sig, again?” Lilly asked.
“Well, he’s doing awesome for that age and he’s so kind and caring to others. I’m sure he’ll make a great husband to her.”
Adria agreed. “One thing I can’t call him is a selfish meatball.” She laughed her bubbly laugh before continuing. “Natalie’s a really nice person, too. Actually, she’s like my big sister now, but I don’t think you’ll understand why I don’t want them to get married. See, once Sig gets married, the natural progression is for Ruby to go away and get married, then for Lyle to go away and get married, then for Kyle to go away and get married. I’ll be the only one left at home with our parents and my family won’t be a family anymore. For example, Sig and I can’t make donuts every Friday like we did when he was at home.”
Lilly hugged her friend. “Don’t worry, Adria. Your family will still remain a family even when all your brothers move away. Change is going to happen, but you guys can still meet up for holidays and planned occasions. They aren’t going to forget about you, and you and Sig can still make donuts together over Skype.”
“Of course you’re right,” Adria said after a pause. “If he has a computer. While we’re at it, he can even share our recipe with the people he’s helping!”
“And your pretty face,” Lilly chimed in.
Now it was Adria’s turn to giggle. “Stop it, matey! Sig doesn’t know it, but I tried to break off their relationship by telling Natalie that he’s really prideful just because he’s a vegan—the only one in our family. I told her he calls me his ‘little carnivore’ and every time he eats with the family, I have to scowl at him and whisper across the table, ‘Take your silly salad and tofu with you and climb into a cubbyhole somewhere. We don’t want to look at your smug face chomping.’ But she just laughed. It did nothing to make her say ‘no’ to Sig’s bling ring engagement thing. I did check out the bright side though. Eventually, I’ll have three older sisters and you and I will get to be flower girls three times over, and then, of course, you’ll be my best maid at my wedding!”
“That’s some serious future planning,” Lilly said. “But aren’t we too old to be flower girls?”
Adria waved her hand dismissively. “Oldy schmoldy! We’re only thirteen. Now tell me about your time in China.”
First, Lilly presented the mirrored iPhone case she had bought in Beijing for Adria.
“It’s lovely!” Adria said admiring herself in the glass. Lilly pulled out her own phone with its waterproof case. Both girls snapped a silly photo of the other. Lilly rapped her knuckles on her phone case. “Substance over style,” she said, taking a jab at her friend who was checking her teeth in the mirror.
Adria smiled so wide the gap in her front teeth showed. “Style over substance. You know me so well, seester.”
“This way, if we’re ever drowning, I’ll be able to call for help while you can only stare at your dying face,” Lilly joked.
Adria laughed so hard that tears began to drop from her eyes. She punched Lilly in the shoulder good-naturedly. “I’d grip your foot so tight that when you got rescued, I would too. Now, shut up and tell me about your latest adventure,” she begged.