H

uvy stood by the door to their basement studio, peeking in self-consciously.

All the girls were inside — her fellow cast members. There was Dini Stein, talking excitedly in the center of a giggling crowd, just like she always did at school. And Malka Newman, who never gave Huvy the time of day, jabbering away with some other girls as she sank down on the basement couch and looked around as if she owned the place.

“Excuse me, is this where the film practice is?”

Huvy swiveled around to see a tall girl with bouncy brown curls.

“Uh, yeah.”

The girl glanced in the doorway and then back at Huvy. “Well, are there monsters in there?”

Huvy blushed. “Nah, I’m just…”

“Nervous,” the girl finished for her. “Aren’t we all? I couldn’t believe when they called to tell me I got a part.”

“Uh, me neither,” Huvy said haltingly.

The girl flashed her a smile. “Hey, I’m Aliza. I guess we’ll all be getting to know each other real well over the next few weeks.”

Huvy swallowed. “Uh, yeah.” She glanced doubtfully at the girls inside. “Well, I do know a lot of them already,” she amended. “They’re in my school.”

“Oh, yeah? Lucky you. I go to Bnos Miriam. It’s tiny. I don’t know anyone.”

Huvy privately thought that tiny sounded nice. Impossible to get lost in a crowd. Or ignored. “Wow, you must have made quite a trip to come here.”

Aliza shrugged. “Yeah, my mom’s great. She said she was fine with the drive if it’s something that makes me so happy. What about you? You live close by?”

Huvy bit her lip. “You could say that.”

She suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder. Looking up, she saw her mother, wearing what Huvy privately called her professional smile.

“Huvy, I see you’re meeting the other girls.” Rina turned her smile on Aliza, who was looking quizzically at Huvy. “Remind me your name again?”

Aliza cleared her throat. “Aliza Katten.”

Rina’s eyes lit up. “Ah yes, our Shiffy. Aliza is playing your bunkmate, Huvy.”

Once again, Huvy noticed that furrowing of the forehead that told her Aliza was trying to work out why Rina was so familiar with Huvy. Well, she would find out soon enough — as soon as they stepped inside the studio, where Dini and Malka and the others were no doubt whispering about the fact that quiet, nebby Huvy Grossberg had gotten a part in the movie, and that clearly it was only because her mother was running it. Her mother, the glamorous Rina Levitan. (“Yeah, her parents are divorced, didn’t you know?”)

Aliza grinned at Rina. “I’m so excited to be here, Mrs. Levitan. Thanks for choosing me.”

Rina patted her arm. “No need to thank me, it was you who did a fabulous tryout. And please, we’re all friends here. Call me Rina.”

As Rina swept into the studio, Aliza raised her eyebrow at Huvy. “Gosh, do you think you could ever call her ‘Rina’?”

Huvy’s cheeks reddened as she turned to enter the studio. “No,” she mumbled. “I actually call her ‘Mommy.’ ” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 604)