Eighteen-year-old Carmen might play Belle at children’s birthday parties, but she feels more like the Beast, especially after falling a few credits short of her high school diploma. When she’s trusted to perform at her spoiled cousin’s quinceañera, she must prove to her family she isn’t the screw-up they think she is — without getting distracted by her new dance partner, who happens to be her ex. Jane the Virgin meets Jenny Han.
Once upon a time, there was a sign. Three, actually. Too bad Mami missed them all.
“That was your left,” I said as we passed our turn. The humid, flowered streets of Miami slid by. The wrong streets.
“Coño, this street has three different names, Carmen!” Mami glared at me in her rearview mirror. My fault. As usual.
Through six layers of sky blue satin, my best friend Waverly muttered something about being late.
“Maybe we’ll turn into pumpkins and I won’t have to dance with a guy wearing an animal head,” I said.
“Maybe start taking this seriously?”
Waverly and I worked as party princesses for a company called Dreams Come True. She usually played Cinderella, but since this was my first party, I didn’t have a “usually” yet.
My buttercup yellow Belle dress lay on my lap, as heavy as a baby, still smelling like dry cleaner fluid. As soon as Waves finished putting herself together, she had to help me. I had no idea what to do with this monstrosity. This was the most formal dress I’d worn since my baptism gown, because I didn’t go to prom or even have a quinceañera.
I’m not exactly the buttercup satin, bluebirds-singing-around-her type. Satin means sweat stains. And if there are birds around me, it’s because they’re in an arroz con pollo and I’m eating them.