It was like magic. And it had been so easy. When the camp counselor called out her name on the first day, Ursula had quickly corrected her. “I go by Nicki.”
The tall blonde gripped her clipboard and scribbled on the roll sheet. “Okay. Nicki,” she mumbled and then moved on. “Baxter!”
And just like that, Ursula’s life had changed.
One piece of evidence was walking toward her with a big grin on his handsome face. “Hey, Nic,” Jeff said, leaning against a nearby tree. “Are you coming to the lake tonight?”
“Wouldn’t miss it.” Back home, a boy like Jeff wouldn’t give her the time of day. And he certainly wouldn’t invite her to a party. Even if he had, she’d have been too tongue-tied to do anything about it.
How could something as simple as a new name make her feel like a different person? Like she had shed six years of baggage and history.
Here, no one saw her as the third-grader with the awful glasses and freckles. She was no longer the fifth-grader who’d knocked out her front teeth and gotten a black eye when she fell down the steps in front of the school. She could never be that nerd who’d written a sappy love letter to Greg Abbott that her Algebra teacher had intercepted and read aloud to the class.
Ursula had been that girl, but Nicki was better than that. Nicki was cool.
Jeff pushed away from the tree and stuck his hands in his pockets. “Okay. See you later.”
Ursula ignored the giggles coming from behind her. “Later,” she said with a wave and turned to face her cabin-mates.
“Ohmigod,” Lanie gushed. “He likes you!”
Carrie squeezed Ursula’s shoulders and they started walking toward the cabins. “We’ll help you get ready.”
Mindy squealed. “I think Dustin’s going to be there too.” She was practically bouncing. “This is going to be the best two weeks of my life.”
Ursula’s smile faltered just a bit. It was going to be the best two weeks of her life too. Literally. She had real girlfriends, a cute guy had invited her to a party. For the first time in her life, life was good. And in two weeks it would end.
She shook it off, not willing to waste a minute of her time on negative feelings. But, while her new friends chatted on about the fun they were going to have, she found herself thinking up ways to change schools when she got back home.
Because now that she’d had a taste of life as Nicki, she would not give it up.