And that was all it took. Libby was in love. Not that she told Mel. She did havesome prideafter all. Besides, Tony was 11 years old–and in Middle School!After that first week of school Mel and Libby were rarely apart. They ate their lunchestogether in school, and they did their homework together at Mel’s house after school. OnSaturdays they alternated between playing in Mel’s big back yard and playing at the park across from Libby’s apartment building. The first week of January Mel and Libby celebratedtheir birthdays together at the ice skating rink. Mel’s birthday was actually in December but she didn’t mind waiting for her party because no onewanted to go to a birthday party right before Christmasanyway. In June when the Marchetti family spent a week inthe outer banks Libby was invited along, and in July whenLibby and her mom tooka longweekend in Will Iamsburg,Mel tagged along. Of course a week spent in the outerbanks hadthe added benefit of Tony’s company.Nothing much changed in the third grade except Mel and Libby were forced to endurebeing in separate classes.They still traded sandwiches at lunch time, and they still watchedThe Little Mermaid every weekend, and Libby was still in love with Tony. And that’s how it was year after year; Libby and Melanie were best friends and closer than sisters.
“It’s red.” Libby stared into the three-way mirror in the dressing room. At sixteen she wasbeginning to like what she saw in the mirror. Her hair was still a plain dark brown, but Melhad spent the last summer experimenting with home hair dyes, and Libby reaped all thebenefits with her almost expertly done low lights. Also over the last year her figure hadcertainly blossomed. Mel’s tall willowy frame was more stylish, but Libby secretlypreferred her own curves. The red dress that hugged her full breasts, and draped just soover the swell of her hips would have hung awkwardly on her friend. “Red is not appropriate for a wedding.” Libby twisted slightly admiring how the steep slit winked opendisplaying one long leg.“It’s a Christmas wedding Lib. I don’tthink those rules apply. Besides it isn’t really red—it’smore of a wine.” Mel sighed dramatically and flounced into a chair. “You can’t really beconsidering putting it back. This dress was made for you, if anyone else were to wear it youcould sue!”“It’s not exactly a one of a kind; there is a rack fullof identical dresses waiting to drainother wallets of othergirls.” Libby was used to Mel’s dramatics. But she still feltit was herduty to bring her friend’s brain out of fashionmagazines and back toearth every now andthen. “Andwhile it isn’t haute couture it also isn’t exactly priced tomove.” Grimacing at theprice tag Libby mentally calculated