An Unexpected Trip

*Cover by Lydia S.* The Devereaux family goes on vacation in Paris, but when they get there…well, let's just say that it turns out to be an unexpected trip. ©2013

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1. An Unexpected Trip

“We’re here!” I exclaimed. “We’re in Paris!” I looked outside of the window of the airplane, staring in awe. Although we were all the way at the airport, I could see several buildings beyond us. The city was so beautiful. I could hardly wait to explore it.

Turning away from the window, I glanced at the rest of the family: my parents, my brother, James, my Uncle Scott, my Aunt Gracie, my cousin Marion, and my nanny, Fancy Nancy (whom got her nickname from her love of fancy clothes).

The aircraft door had soon opened, dropping a flight of stairs below it. "Whew!" Dad exclaimed. "Six hours was a long ride, wasn't it? But it would've been even longer with our Chevy," he added. Turning to me, he smiled. "Of course, she's a good car," he insisted. "She probably would've held up."

I smiled, knowing why Dad had said that: I was born inside of the truck. Mom had gone into labor earlier than expected, so Dad had started driving off to the hospital. But they didn’t make it, and I was soon born. That was how I got my name.

We soon made our way into the city. Fancy Nancy suddenly pulled out the map and started examining it. “Where should we go first?” she wondered out loud.

“How about the food court?” James asked, placing a hand on his stomach. “I’m starving.” I rolled my eyes--James loved to eat.

“I guess we could go there,” Mom answered. “Where’s a good place to eat?” She then walked over to the map Fancy Nancy had and began scanning over it. “It seems like they’re so many places to choose from,” she remarked. 

Fancy Nancy’s eyes suddenly lit up as she pointed to something marked off the map. “How about we go to Le café de Lena?”  she suggested. "The food looks delicious." 

 James made a face. “Isn’t café an American word?” he queried. 

I shook my head and smacked him on the shoulder. “It’s French, stupid,” I retorted. “We just have some foreign words integrated in America, remember?” I rolled my eyes. 

“Oh, of course you would know that,” James responded cheekily. “You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” He suddenly changed the octave of his voice, mimicking me. “‘Look, I’m Chevy! I’m so awesome and cool and think I’m better than everyone else! Even though, in reality, I’m just an ugly, stuck-up little witch--”

“Oh, shut up!” I snapped.”

“You shut up!” James shot back.

My face turned red. “Oh, you are so—”

“Enough!” Mom growled. She frowned at me. “It’s not nice to hit people, Chevy,” she scolded. “And don’t call your brother stupid.” Then, turning to James, “Stop mocking your sister, James.”

I sighed. I really didn’t like James. I knew a lot of siblings had rivalries, but James was just so mean sometimes. The only reason I was rude to him was because I was retaliating back, but of course I got in trouble for doing so.

I was about to say something else to James when Fancy Nancy suddenly said, “Alright, let’s go.” She sounded as if she wanted to break up the feud between me and James. 

“The restaurant is only a mile from here,” Fancy Nancy went on, and then she started walking in the direction. We all followed her. As I strode behind her,  I glanced at the other people. They were wearing loose, grey outfits with giant stickers that said PZLES! on them. I was confused. Why was everyone wearing that, anyway? And I was pretty sure that pzles wasn't a French word--heck, it didn't even look like a real word! Before I could say something about it, though, I bumped into James, who had suddenly stopped walking. “Keep moving, stupid!” I snapped. “You’ll lose Fancy Nancy.” But then I realized that everyone in front of James had stopped moving, too, even Fancy Nancy. 

“What’s wrong?” I asked my nanny. She turned around to face me and looked confused. “Uh…I think we’re lost,” she admitted. "It says the café is right here, but I don't see it!" 

“Don’t worry,” Marion said quickly. “I know French. I’ll ask for directions.” She spotted a man across the street and approached him. He had black hair and a long mustache. It was so long that it draped over all the way to the ground. Obviously it had to be a fake. But why would he wear that in the first place? What was the point?

Marion started talking to the man, but of course I couldn’t understand what she was saying. After a few minutes, she smiled at the man and walked back towards us. Her grin completely vanished and was replaced with a worried expression. 

“What’s wrong” I asked immediately. 

Marion shook her head frantically. “The man said that there was no restaurant called Lena’s Café,” she informed us, her voice sounding concerned.

Fancy Nancy looked outraged. ‘Well, that can’t be!”she exclaimed indignantly. “It’s right here on the map!”

Uncle Scott went over to get a better look at the map. “Wait a minute,” he began, his face suddenly full of realization. He put his hand on the words “Lena’s Café”. "This doesn't feel right..."He put a grip on LENA'S CAFE and pulled it off! “It’s a sticker!” Uncle Scott exclaimed, holding it up in the air for everyone to see. “But why would—”

“Gotcha!” a voice shouted. We all turned around. The man with the long mustache was looking at us with a big smile. 

“You speak English?” Marion asked in shock. “But I thought you were French!” 

The bearded man snickered. “I’m not French,” he said, his voice full of glee. “I’m surprised you took anything I said seriously, given this ridiculous beard I’m wearing. Didn’t you think it was odd?” he suddenly asked. 

“Well…yeah,” Marion admitted, obviously still in shock. “But I already thought it was fake.” 

 “Of course it’s fake!” the man exclaimed happily. “Everything here is fake!”

That made no sense. “What are you talking about?” I demanded. 

“You’re not really in France!” the bearded man proclaimed.

Dad quickly shook his head. “That’s impossible!” he shrieked. "I was given FREE tickets for me and my family to travel to Paris!"

"It was all apart of an act," the crazy man explained. "We put up the fake sweepstakes for a free trip to Paris, and you 'won'!" He burst out laughing, which just made my blood boil. 

Mom stared at the bloke with an incredulous look on her face. “Are you insane?" she shouted. "I’m pretty sure we’d know if—”

“You want proof?” the man suddenly challenged. He then bent over and started to grab a part of the ground. After he had a good grip on it, he tore it completely off! Underneath it was a black, solid floor!

I just gaped as the man then walked over to the sky, actually touching it, and pulling it off! Replacing it was a large, green scenery! 

“You’re on a TV set!” the man exclaimed, stepping back over to us. “You’ve just been pranked!” 

I gasped. All of the people who I thought were French started laughing. I heard more people laughing, too. I turned around. There were people sitting in rows of seats, watching us with glee! When they saw our reaction, they started clapping.

James stood there, motionless. Uncle Scott and Aunt Gracie looked confused. Fancy Nancy fainted. Dad started cursing out. Mom just looked mad. “Why would you do this to us?” she yelled at the man, but he just snickered. “I didn’t do it,” he began, his voice full of amusement. He turned to James and pointed right at him. “He did it. He’s the one who called us to prank the Devereaux family!”

“You?” I choked. “But how could this be possible? You’re too dumb to come up with an idea like this!” 

James looked angry.“That’s we’re you’re wrong, Chevy!” he snapped. “I am smart and talented. But no one else believes that. No," he growled, “everyone wants to be around Chevy. ‘Chevy’s so pretty’, ‘Chevy’s so great’, “Chevy’s so smart”, blah, blah blah! I was sick of it!” James turned around to point back to the man with the long beard. “So, I called this man and told him to prank you all!”

Dad looked outraged. “So let me get this straight,” he began, his voice shaking with anger, “you tricked all of us—the entire family—just because you were jealous of your sister?”

“I am not jealous!” James demanded, but I could tell by the way he had responded that it was a lie.

“Yes, you are!” This time it was Mom speaking. “James, I cannot believe you! I understand if you were just going to snap at Chevy or even hit her, but this?” She gestured around the television set. “We thought we were on a vacation, James! You got the whole family excited, and I’m not just talking about us!” She gestured towards Uncle Scott, Aunt Nancy, Marion, and the passed-out Fancy Nancy. “You pranked your uncle, your aunt, your cousin, and your nanny! They came all this way to have fun, and look what you did!”

“Oh.” James suddenly looked timid. “Well, when you put it that way—”

“Really, James?” Dad folded his arms angrily. “I cannot believe you would do something so horrible!” His eyes suddenly widened. “And how did you even get the money to pay these people to prank us?” he demanded.

“Oh.” James looked down at the ground. “I may have taken a teeny bit of money from you and Mom—”

“YOU DID WHAT???” Dad shouted, outrage written all over his face. 

Mom, looking equally as mad, demanded, “How did you do that?”

James’ cheeks went red. “Um, you know how you and Dad are heavy sleepers?” he began slowly.

“What does THAT have to do with anything?” Mom growled.

James rubbed the pack of his neck, his face turning pale. “I, uh...I kind of found the code to your credit card and used it to pay for the prank.”

For a moment the room went deadly quiet. Everyone just stared at James, including me.

Then, with a thundering voice, Dad boomed, “WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU??? HOW COULD YOU DO SOMETHING SO CRUEL, SO VICIOUS, SO SNEAKY???”

Uncle Scott looked furious. “You are the foulest boy I’ve ever met!” he spat. 

“You ruined our vacation!” Aunt Gracie agreed. 

Fancy Nancy suddenly regained conscious and looked up around dazedly. “Who did this?” she demanded. We all pointed at James angrily, which just made her look shocked. “How could you do such a thing?” she shouted.

“This prank was awful,” Marion began, an air of sarcasm filling her voice. “So it makes perfect sense why someone like James would do it!”

Dad turned on James, his eyes full of fury. “Young man, you are grounded!” he bellowed. “Your vicious behavior has earned you a year in your bedroom!”

“But--”James was stammering now, clearly out of words. “But—I—”

“I can’t BELIEVE you, James!” Mom barked, cutting off James from whatever excuse he was going to say. “You are a liar!” 

“What are you talking about?” James asked helplessly.

“You acted like this was a real trip to Paris!" Mom fired, her eyes sparking with anger. "You lied!”

“But I never said it was a real trip!” James insisted.

“Liar!” Mom yelled.

“Mom—”

“LIAR!!!”

 Mom calmed down a bit, and then said, “I am very disappointed in you, James. I think we should extend your punishment to two years. And as for you,” she said, turning to me, “I will have your brother buy you a souvenir from Paris, when we really go there. You deserve something for not pranking the entire family!” 

James choked. “WHAT?” he shouted, but mom would have none of it. “Shut up!”she yelled. “SHUT UP! DON’T MAKE ME REPEAT THAT INCIDENT IN PUERTO RICO!!!”

I smiled. James was in trouble, I got a reward, and we would finally go to Paris after all. The universe made sense again.

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