H

uvy heard the front door open downstairs and nervously looked up from her homework.

“Mommy’s home,” she whispered.

Atara jumped up from her bed and stuck her head into the hall. “Hi, Mommy!” she sang out.

“Hi, Atara,” returned the clearly non-female voice of their father.

“Tatty.” Huvy felt her heartbeat slowing back to normal. “Wow, didn’t realize it was that late already.”

Atara came back into their bedroom and closed the door. She walked over to where Huvy was sitting by her desk and gave her an exaggerated pat on the back. “Close call.” She smirked.

Huvy tried for unconcerned innocence. “Don’t know what you mean.”

“Ha!” Atara bounced onto her bed, folding her legs underneath her. “I’m not dumb. Though maybe you are, deciding to try out for Mommy’s film. Even I didn’t consider doing that, even though all my friends were trying out, and they thought I was crazy, when I’m such an actress, and, well, it’s my mother doing this. Like, how could she not take me? But, gosh, I was like, how awkward would that be?”

She paused, and looked at Huvy, whose face was warm. “So tell me. Why did you do it?”

Huvy stared down at her notebook, where she was trying to write the answers to her Navi homework. “Um… I don’t know, I thought it would be fun.”

Atara snorted. Huvy couldn’t blame her. It was a stupid answer, but the problem was, she really had no more intelligent reason to give. The truth was, she had no idea what had propelled her to do such a strange thing. Such an insanely uncharacteristic thing.

What had she been thinking, waiting for hours in that audition line, just to spend her five miserable minutes pretending to be an actress when both she and her horrified mother knew that she was the last person in the world who should be acting in a film?

Rina had been too stunned to speak properly. Gabriella, the film producer who was working with her mother — the one who’d originally made her mother feel so bad by telling her she hadn’t properly thought out the idea, but who certainly seemed nice enough yesterday at the tryout — had smiled kindly at Huvy and encouraged her to show them her best.

Somehow, by keeping her gaze focused on Gabriella the whole time and pretending her mother wasn’t there, she’d managed to get through the audition and even get a compliment from Gabriella on her sweet singing voice. Just before she left, her mother had come over, touched her cheek, and said, “Good job, sweetie.”

It was something, at least. But she knew she’d upset her mother by trying out.

And why had she done it? Why? So she could prove to herself that she wasn’t just plain, quiet Huvy? So she could prove it to Mommy?

Atara was right. She was beyond dumb. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 603)