Rakelle began her Xmas break a week early, and then returned to school a week late because she had so much to get done. The lip-plumping might have been the most painful of the several procedures, but took only half an hour, whereas the nose job and breast augmentation, for both of which she was anesthetised into unconsciousness, involved extended recovery periods, and her nose guy wouldn’t do her until at least a week after her boobs.
Pater, which she'd taken to calling him because she knew how much he loved her calling him Daddy, had taken some convincing. He said he was saddened that Rakelle, so beautiful to him, would think herself so in need of revision. Rakelle rolled her eyes and said, in that tone of hers, that she was ecstatic that Pater thought her so attractive, but what the boys at her school thought actually mattered just that wee bit more. She was pretty sure that the money was at least as big a concern for him as her self-esteem. She eventually got her way by saying that if she couldn’t get the work she wanted during her Xmas break, maybe she’d spend the whole of it with her mom, from whom Pater had been bitterly divorced since Rakelle was 11. Hearing that, David hung up on her, probably in angry tears, but she was pretty sure he’d call back within 20 minutes to apologise. He called back in 12, pretending he’d earlier lost his connection. The first words out of his mouth were that he’d scheduled an appointment for Rakelle with the guy who’d done his secretary’s boobs.
Her first morning back at school, Rakelle felt that the money could hardly have been better spent. Between History to Algebra, she was aware of half a dozen guys turning to stare at her, and two of them — Jared Pankow and Brendan Meisel were among the hottest seniors at Laurelmont. Even Jared’s girlfriend — that bitch Dominique Noriega, the queen of a circle into which the unimproved Rakelle couldn’t have entered with the Ferguson, Missouri, SWAT team clearing the way— noticed, and how sweet was that? In Algebra, Mr. Hinshaw did a double-take when she walked in (both Daddy and Dr. Rosenthal had tried to talk her out of D-cups, but she’d stuck to her guns), which was totally gross, but so did Frazier Hunnicutt, who was only a few links down the food chain from Jared Pankow and Brendan Meisel.
That bitch Dominque Noriega had never acknowledged Rakelle’s presence in any way, not even when they’d sat in adjacent seats in homeroom in 9th grade, but here she was, at lunchtime, seeking Rakelle out and asking if Rakelle would like to eat (or, in several cases, not eat (dieting!)) with her and her home girls. There were nine black and mixed-race kids in the whole school, and none of the three girls was in Dominique’s circle, so Rakelle thought home girls was pretty pretentious, but she wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. She said, “Why not?” totally nonchalantly, and followed Dominique to the so-called A-list table in the cafeteria, but had hardly gotten her napkin on her lap before Whisper Thompson, who was generally seen as Dominique’s, like, enforcer, tapped her really hard on the shoulder and said, “Check this out, sweetie-pie. You’re having bigger boobs and lips might impress the Jerkoff Brigade, but it don’t impress us at all, and if we see Jared or Brendan or any of them talking to you, we’re going to cut your fucking tongue out with one of these [a white plastic knife] and strangle you with it. You understand?” Before Jakelle could answer, Whisper had poured half her little carton of sugar-free lemonade all over Rakelle’s macaroni and cheese, which wasn’t, like, catastrophic because Rakelle wasn’t about to eat anything cheesy in front of A-list bitches on diets.