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Totally Fabulous

Totally Fabulous by Michelle Radford
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If you had the power of mind control, could you resist using it? (Didn't think so. Fiona Blount feels your pain.)

Fiona is coming to America! Her long-lost-now-found father is bringing her from London to meet his family. Of course, there's a secret agenda for her trip: Fiona has inherited her dad's psychic abilities and is off to ESP boot camp. Good thing she doesn't take after the rest of his family—a pretty moody bunch. Fiona knows she shouldn't be using her power of compulsion until she has more training, but if she can make people happier, isn't it almost her duty to do so? She's sure that with just a little bit of nudging, they'll all be on their way to being totally fabulous—but is she totally deluded?

HarperCollins; June 2009
256 pages; ISBN 9780061912528
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Totally Fabulous
Author: Michelle Radford

Chapter One

"Oi! Over here. Refill, luv!"

Oi, indeed.

When we were first planning this trip, William Brown totally should have listened to me when I suggested that we fly coach instead of first class to New York, because first class is too elitist and money wasting. And irritating-minor-celebrity attracting. A very minor, very, very irritating celebrity who goes by the name of Dude Mann. Who would willingly go by that name? I mean, where's the imagination behind that choice?

If only I could use my ESP power of compulsion to shut him up, but I can't, because (a) I can't control my powers properly yet, and (b) I promised William Brown (my long-lost now recently found father) I wouldn't try to use them until I've learned to control them—he's worried that I might harm someone (including myself).

"Did you see that episowde of The Flat where I challenged Jayda to a chocolate-eating contest, and she stuffed ten Snickers down that fat gullet of hers? Ha ha ha ha." Dude Mann, who is sitting two rows in front of us, is talking at the poor cabin assistant in his loud Cockney accent as she serves him yet another glass of champagne. Talking at, rather than holding a conversation with, because he's enthralled by the sound of his own voice. Unfortunately, he thinks that everybody else is, too.

"I'm kind of glad I missed that one," William Brown whispers across to me. "You know, I'm really beginning to wish I'd taken your advice that we fly coach instead." He rolls his eyes in the direction of Dude.

"Oh, no," I whisper back, because his reasons for flying first class were really great. Even though he liked my suggestion that he could donate the difference in the fares to Sir Bob Geldof's charity "You fly so much between England and America that you're right, you need the comfort and space that first class offers, so that you arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to face whatever challenges may present themselves." That sounds so formal. I'm not entirely comfortable around William Brown yet, even though I like him a lot.

"There's no chance we'll arrive un-travel-weary and un-crumpled if we have to listen to Dude Mann for the entire trip," he tells me and laughs.

How nice was it, though, of William Brown to write a check for, anyway, to please me? William Brown donates to a lot of other charities, too, which is another reason why I like him very much. I mean, it would have been a huge disappointment if my dad had turned out to be a miserly philanderer or something.

I can't bring myself to call him Dad, yet. He told me to call him Will, but that seems strange, too. I've thought of him as William Brown for so many years, it's a hard habit to break.

Anyway, I just knew when I saw Dude Mann at first-class check-in earlier that he was going to ruin my first ever journey to America, because I got tiny warning prickles at the back of my neck. He was a complete nuisance on the celebrity version of the reality show The Flat, where ten complete strangers have to live together for months, without contact with the outside world. On his first day with the show he ate half the Flatmates' food rations, and disgusted everyone with his unhygienic personal habits, which involved him inserting fingers in certain facial orifices. Yuck! Would you do that on national TV?

I wish I'd warned William Brown that Dude could be a possible nuisance on the flight, but I couldn't because William Brown had to take an urgent business call on his mobile, and had therefore walked outside the main airport doors for some privacy. It was pretty noisy in Heathrow Airport, I can tell you, because July is the height of the holiday season. It was filled with people bustling here and there, not to mention the long queues.

Mum and her boyfriend, Mark Collingridge (who had come to wave me off), didn't even notice Dude Mann, because Mum was too busy hugging me and telling me how much she'd miss me (I will miss her, too), on account of me never having spent six weeks away from her before, and had I packed my cute T-shirt with the diamanté cat face on it? (Yes.)

Mark Collingridge also kept hugging me and telling me how much he'd miss me, too (which was sweet because he hasn't known me very long), especially our discussions about movies and books. Then he told me about a documentary he'd seen recently on passenger plane disasters. Honestly, I really like Mark Collingridge, but he does have a habit of recounting movies or books that somehow relate to my life—and never in a good way.

Like the time a few weeks ago when he insisted on discussing a book I was supposed to read for English, Flowers for Algernon, in which the main character takes part in a brain-enhancing experiment and becomes supersmart for a little while, then, tragically, begins to deteriorate. It was just after I discovered William Brown on the Internet, and my ESP powers had kicked in big-time (according to William Brown, a severe emotional shock like finding your long-lost father can cause a person's powers to develop suddenly). I hadn't plucked up the courage to confess my true identity to William Brown, and I was worried that my ESP powers were really a brain tumor because of the side effects (terrible pounding headaches and nausea, and sometimes I have to be sick).

While Mum and Mark Collingridge were talking to me and hugging me, Dude Mann was insisting to the airline assistant that excess baggage rules shouldn't apply to him—he was a celebrity after all and needed his full wardrobe available for his American TV debut. (That was a shock. Why was he even going to be on American TV?)

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