Chapter 5 The alarm rang at six-thirty. And that's when I learned that my mother doesn't even wake up the way she used to. No snooze button. No moaning and groaning. No "Oh, please!" from under the covers. Instead, she clicked off the buzz, swung out of bed, smiled, and cried, "It's gone! It's completely gone!" I wanted to moan and groan and say "Oh, please!" from under the covers, but instead I asked, "Your headache?" She stands up. "Yes! C'mon, girls. Rise and shine! I told LeBrandi we'd switch back right at six-thirty. She's got to get her things, and I've got to get mine." She comes over and sits on my edge of the bed. "Samantha, I'm really sorry about this. About all of this. And I'll come home the first chance I get so that we can talkonow that I know you want to talk. But I think you can see that this is not the time to discuss things. If I can get the part of Jewel, then we'll have some options. But in order for me to do that, I've got to live and breathe nothing but Jewel so that I can become sort of a reincarnation of her." Marissa sits up and rubs her eyes. "Why can't you just be a new Jewel?" My mother takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "Jewel is already an established character. And sure, it'd be a lot more fun for me to do my own interpretation of her, but this is a big, big role. The casting director has made it very clear that the producer wants to fill the part as closely as possible in likeness, manner, and voice to the old Jewel, so that Lords fans will embrace her return. Once you're accepted by the viewers, then you can start making subtle changes." "Is that why your hair's all . . ." Marissa ruffled the top of her head, trying to find the words. "Exactly. It has really helped me get into character. Max says it also shows commitment, which is something this casting director is looking for. And now that I think about it, it may have helped LeBrandi and me to make the final cut." "LeBrandi did her hair like that, too?" My mother nodded. "We did it at the same time. It was scaryo" she grinned at uso"but fun." Marissa says, "But I don't get it. If Jewel's got amnesia, maybe she doesn't remember how she used to be. I mean, she doesn't even know who she is, right?" "Marissa, all I can tell you is that if this is what the producer wants, this is what you try to deliver." "What happened to the old Jewel, anyway? Did she die in real life?" "No," my mother says, standing up. "The truth is, she got too old and too fat. Now come on, girls. Let's get going." We got dressed quickly and stuffed our jammies away, and we were following her to the door when she says, "Why don't you wait right here." She checks her watch. "If LeBrandi's not ready, I don't want you standing out in the hallway with that suitcase." So she goes out while we wait. And when she isn't back a minute later, I stick my nose out and look up and down the hallway. Marissa says, "Well?" "She's gone." She looks out, too, checking both directions. "Where'd she go?" "I have no idea." She points to the left. "That's her room, right?" "Yeah." "Maybe she went inside." Just then we see her, scurrying toward us from the bathroom. She comes inside the room, shuts the door, and says, "The room's locked, she's not in the bathroom, she's not in the gym . . . do you think she's still asleep?" She's really just talking to herself, so she doesn't wait around for an answer. She goes back to her door, knocks, and whispers, "LeBrandi! LeBrandi, wake up!" I whisper, "Don't you have a key?" and that's when I look down at our doorknob and notice that it doesn't have a keyeVan Draanen, Wendelin is the author of 'Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy', published 2001 under ISBN 9780375802669 and ISBN 0375802665.