"Is this the boat to Europe, France?"
Honestly, I tried to stop myself from asking the question, I truly did. In front of me, the porter guy looks at me as if I'm a thirteen (almost fourteen!)-year-old idiot. Beside me, dear old Dad looks at me as if I'm delusional (that's because a lot of the time he actually thinks I am—he's even had me tested to make sure I'm not). And he's about to open his mouth to start in on me (again . . . sigh) when, behind me, I hear it—someone laughs. Right on cue.
I swing around quickly, my head zipping from side to side, trying to see who it is, but it's practically impossible in this traffic jam of a crowd, especially when you're as short as I am and your dad won't let you wear a kitten heel, let alone rhinestones in the daytime. I bet Marilyn Monroe's mother never said a thing about Marilyn wearing rhinestones in the daytime. Then again, Marilyn Monroe's mother let her get married at sixteen and spent a great deal of time in a mental institution, so that's probably not saying very much. I'm just about to give up on the searching thing when the crowd parts and someone dressed entirely in red, going out/in/out (in all the right places) and hips swaying, passes me by with a wink and a lift of one perfectly arched eyebrow.
"Honey," she says, in the kind of voice that makes everyone turn and look at her. "France is in Europe."
Oh. My. God.
It's one of those moments when you just know you'll think up a zillion and two perfect things to say later, but instead you stand there looking like you've recently had a lobotomy. Especially when I realize that the someone is actually a Someone and that the woman now heading up the escalator to the biggest ship I've ever seen in my life is, in fact, Holly Isles.
Yes, the Holly Isles.
Actress. Goddess. Star of stage, screen and various tabloid magazines that you skim as fast as you can at the supermarket checkout because your dad will never let you buy them, Holly Isles.
Someone whistles. And this time, I don't need to look around. This time, I know for sure it's not for me. (Laughing, sure. Whistling? I am sincerely doubting it . . .) And because I don't turn around, I don't move for the guy. The one who smacks into my shoulder and says, "Excuse me. I need to get to my aunt."
I follow his gaze directly up the escalator to Holly. His aunt? Holly is his aunt? Well, la de da. I go to give him my best "Get your filthy mitts off me, don't mess with the outfit and don't go anywhere near the hair, buster" look when my mouth drops even further. Hello, sailor! Cute boy ahoy! This guy is definitely related to Holly in a big way.
"Ah . . ." my dad exhales, the lecture he'd been working on giving me obviously forgotten. Funny, but he's got the same kind of lobotomy look as me. And he's staring straight at Holly.
It takes me a moment to get over the shock. When I finally do, my eyes move back from my dad to Holly's form as she goes up, up, up (and I'm not alone, I think everyone on the dock is watching Holly go up, up, up). Slowly, I shake my head from side to side. I can't believe it. I can't believe Holly Isles just said that to me. And it wasn't exactly the line from the movie I was thinking about, but then again, neither was mine. And I could probably go on watching her forever, my mouth hanging open (okay, so I only check out her nephew a few more times), except that Holly's now out of sight and my dad has obviously returned to his old lecturing form.
"Nessa Joanne Mulholland."
"NESSA JOANNE MULHOLLAND!"
"Huh?" I finally look up, only to see him looking down at something. At my chest. Ugh. Gross. What is he doing? He'd better not be doing any research on me. But then I look down too.
Oops. The tissues are escaping again.
I surreptitiously stuff them down my black-with-leopard-skin-trim top with one hand. "I've got a cold, okay?" I mutter. Geez. So much for Marilyn's mother. I bet she never had to put up with this kind of harassment from her father, either. Except that no-one was ever quite sure exactly who he was. And, of course, Marilyn didn't need to stuff, either, did she?
I sigh my second sigh of the morning. Life. It's just so . . . unmovielike.