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Mia Goes Fourth pd-4

Meg Cabot

  Mia Goes Fourth

  ( Princess Diaries - 4 )

  Meg Cabot

  Also by Meg Cabot

  The Princess Diaries

  The Princess Diaries: Take Two

  The Princess Diaries: Third Time Lucky

  All American Girl

  Look out for more Meg Cabot books!

  The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five

  The Princess Diaries: Six Appeal

  Nicola and the Viscount

  Victoria and the Rogue

  The Princess Diaries:

  Mia Goes Fourth

  Meg Cabot

  Many thanks to the usual suspects: Beth Ader, Jennifer Brown, Barb Cabot, Sarah Davies, Laura Langlie,

  Abby McAden, David Walton and especially Benjamin Egwatz. Special thanks to the Beckham family,

  specifically Julie, for so generously allowing me the use of Molly's sock-swallowing habit!

  'If I was a princess - a real princess,' she murmured, 'I could scatter largess to the populace. But

  even if I am only a pretend princess, I can invent little things to do for people. Things Eke this.

  She was just as happy as if it was largess. I'll pretend that to do things people like is scattering largess.'

  A Little Princess

  Frances Hodgson Burnett

  Friday, January 1, Midnight,

  Royal Genovian Bedchamber

  My New Year's Resolutions

  by Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo

  aged 14 and 8 months

  1. I will stop biting my fingernails, including the fake ones.

  2. I will stop lying. Grandmere knows when I am lying anyway, thanks to my traitorous nostrils which flare every

  time I tell a fib, so it's not like there is even a point in trying to be less than truthful.

  3. I will never veer from the prepared script while delivering televised addresses to the Genovian public.

  4. I will stop accidentally saying French swear words in front of the ladies-in-waiting.

  5. I will stop letting Francois, my Genovian bodyguard, teach me French swear words.

  6. I will apologize to the Genovian Olive Growers' Association for that thing with the pits.

  7. I will apologize to the Royal Chef for slipping Grandmere's dog that slice of foie gras (even though I have told the

  palace kitchen repeatedly that I do not eat meat).

  8. I will stop lecturing the Royal Genovian Press Corps on the evils of paparrazism.

  9. I will achieve self-actualization.

  10. I will stop thinking so much about Michael Moscovitz.

  Oh, wait. It's OK for me to think about Michael Moscovitz, BECAUSE HE IS MY BOYFRIEND NOW!!!!!!!!


  Saturday, January 2,

  Royal Genovian Parliament

  You know, I am supposed to be on vacation. Seriously. I mean, this is my Winter Break. I am supposed to be having

  fun, mentally recharging for the coming semester, which is not going to be easy, as I will be moving on to Algebra II,

  not to mention Health and Safety class. Every other kid I know is spending his or her Winter Break in Aspen, skiing,

  or in Miami, getting tanned.

  But me? What am I doing for my Winter Break?

  Oh, well, right now I am just sitting in on a session of the Royal Genovian Parliament, pretending to be paying attention

  while these really old guys in wigs go on about whether or not to give free parking to the patrons of Genovia's many casinos.

  Oh, yeah. That's a good way to spend the precious few weeks I have off from school. At this rate I will absolutely return to New York well-rested and ready for whatever awaits me in my second semester of my freshman year at Albert Einstein

  High School. Thanks, Dad. Thanks, Grandmere. Thanks so much.

  No one even wants to hear my opinion about the whole parking thing, of course. That if we don't charge for parking it will encourage more people to drive over the French and Italian borders instead of taking the train, clogging up Genovia's

  already very busy streets and causing yet more strain on our infrastructure.

  But why should anyone be interested in what I have to say on the matter? I am just the Princess of Genovia. My opinion obviously doesn't matter. Which would be why no one is listening to me, just arguing over the top of my head with my dad, who fortunately shares my opinion that a nominal parking charge - I'd jack it up to about thirty Euros a day, if I were him —

  is appropriate.

  Fine, whatever. Like I care. I am pretending to take notes, since Grandmere told me I had to, as one day I will be sitting

  in my dad's chair (sadly not the throne - that is in the throne room back at the palace) in the front of Parliament and have

  to make all the decisions. But really I am recording my innermost thoughts and feelings in this book. Like the fact that I think Interior Minister Pepin looks exactly like this howler monkey I once saw on World's Funniest Animals. Or that Secretary Renard needs to start watching his saturated fats intake.

  Not that it is at all princesslike to comment on the physical inadequacies of others. Especially when I have so many physical inadequacies of my own.

  But it isn't like I don't have enough to worry about. I mean, I can barely bring myself to believe that a whole new year has actually started. Seriously. So much has happened to me since last year - enough that probably a better-adjusted person

  might have totally lost it. Fortunately, since I was born a biological freak, and am therefore very used to adversity, I was

  able to take it all in my stride, for the most part.

  But if I had been anyone else - like Katie Holmes, or maybe one of the Olsen twins - I so fully would have not been able to deal. Because, you know, Katie and Mary Kate and Ashley are totally gorgeous and self-actualized, and never have to

  worry about anything. Whereas I, in less than a year's period, have been through so much trauma and angst it is a wonder

  I am not on Oprah every single day, pouring my heart out to Dr Phil. I mean, in the last four months alone, I have found

  out that:

  1. My dad is the Prince of Genovia, and that I am his heir.

  2. My grandmother is the Dowager Princess of Genovia, and that it is her duty to train me for the day I will ascend

  the throne.

  3. My mom is having my Algebra teacher's baby (but unlike me, my new brother or sister will not bear the stigma

  of illegitimacy, since Mom and Mr. Gianini are married).

  4. My best friend Lilly's brother, whom I have loved since the day I met him, when I was in the first grade and he

  was in fourth and he came over in the playground to give Lilly her social studies project which she had forgotten

  (an exact replica of the Parthenon, in red Play Doh), actually loves me back, and now we are going out.

  Or at least we will when I get done with my first official visit to Genovia since discovering I am the sole heir to its throne,

  and am allowed to return to my normal life as a ninth-grader in New York City.

  I am telling you, a lesser person would have had to check herself into Bellevue. These are extremely startling, almost earth-shattering discoveries. It is only due to the fact that so many excruciatingly horrible things have happened to me throughout my life - excessively large feet; lack of notable mammary growth; general difficulty in asserting myself in front of peers, resulting in unpopularity; owning an overweight pet cat; inability to comprehend multiplication of fractions — that I

  have been able to cope at all. I mean, I am way used to affliction by now.

  Not that the part about Michael is an affliction. The
knowledge that my love for him is not unrequited, like Wolverine's for

  Jean Grey in X-MEN, is the only bright spot in my otherwise hideous existence.

  Oh, and the baby brother or sister thing. That's pretty cool, too. Though I'd prefer it if my mom would let the doctor tell her what it is she's having, so I don't have to keep writing brother or sister all the time. Mom says she doesn't want to know,

  since if it's a boy she won't push, due to not wanting to bring another Y-chromosomed oppressor into the world (Mr G says that is just the hormones talking, but I'm not so sure. My mom can be pretty anti-Y chromosome when she puts her mind to it).

  I can't help wondering, as I sit here, listening to some dude whose title I don't know — although in his purple and gold sash

  he looks a little like Mayor McCheese - go on about the cost of parking-garage time clocks, not to mention parking-garage attendants, what lies in store for me in the coming year. I mean, last year I got:

  a. a crown

  b. a new stepdad

  c. a potential baby brother or sister, and

  d. a handsome, smart, funny boyfriend . . . my heart's one desire.

  Sunday, January 3,

  Royal Genovian Rose Garden

  Poem for M. M.

  Across the deep-blue shining sea,

  is Michael, far away from me.

  But he doesn't seem so far away -

  though I haven't seen him for sixteen days -

  because in my heart Michael stays

  and there he'll beat forever always.

  OK, that poem sucks. I can see I am going to have to work harder if I am to come up with a fitting tribute to my love.

  What could possibly happen next?

  Tuesday, January 5,

  Royal Quarters of the Dowager Princess

  Grandmere is yelling at me again.

  As if I don't totally get why everybody is so mad about the whole speech thing. I mean, I have already resolved that

  I will never again veer from the prepared script while addressing the Genovian populace.

  But why am I the only one in this country who thinks pollution is an important issue? If people are going to dock their yachts

  (at least cruisers are banned) in the Genovian harbour, they really ought to pay attention to what they are throwing overboard.

  I mean, dolphins and sea turtles get their noses stuck in those plastic six-pack holders all the time, and then they starve to

  death because they can't open their mouths to eat. All people have to do is snip the loops before they throw the holders out, and everything would be fine.

  Well, all right, not everything., since you shouldn't be throwing trash overboard in the first place. That is why my dad fully

  had all those Grecian-urn-shaped trash receptacles placed at convenient intervals all along the pier. You would think people would consider actually using them. I mean, the sea is not their garbage can.

  I cannot stand idly by while helpless sea creatures are being abused by trendy Bain de Soleil-addicts in search of that

  perfect St. Tropez tan.

  Besides, if I am to be the ruler of Genovia someday, people need to realize I am not going to be merely a figurehead -

  unlike some royals I could mention. I intend to tackle serious issues during my reign, such as the tossing of plastic six-pack holders in the bay. And the fact that all the foot traffic from the day-trippers coming off the yachts that dock in the

  Genovian harbour is destroying some of our most historically important bridges, such as the Pont des Vierges (Bridge of the Virgins), so named after my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother Agnes, who threw herself off it rather

  than become a nun like her father wanted her to be. (She was all right: the Genovian royal navy fished her out and she ended

  up eloping with the ship's captain, much to the consternation of the house of Renaldo).

  You would think people - OK, Grandmere and my dad - would recognize that it is important for me to establish my voice

  as heir to the throne now. Mr Gianini once told me that it is better to start off mean and get nicer as the semester goes by

  than start nice and have everybody think they can walk all over you.

  Whatever. I wish I could call Michael, or even Lilly, but I can't because they are spending Winter Break at their grandmother's in Florida and I don't even know the number. They are not getting back until the day before I do! How I have survived this long, without my boyfriend and best friend to talk to, is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

  I am fully starting to hate it here. Everybody at school was all, 'Oh you are so lucky, you get to spend Christmas in a castle being waited on hand and foot. . .'

  Well, believe me, there is nothing so great about living in a castle. First of all, everything in it is really old. And yeah, it's not

  like it was built in 500AD or whenever it was that my ancestress, Rosagunde, first became princess or whatever. But it was

  still built in, like, the 1600s and let me tell you what they didn't have in the 1600s:

  1. Cable TV

  2. DSL

  3. Toilets

  Which is not to say there isn't a satellite dish, but hello, this is my dad's place, the only channels he has got programmed

  are like CNN, CNN Financial News, and the golf channel.

  Where is MTV 2,1 ask you? Where is the Lifetime Movie Channel for Women?

  Not that it matters because I am spending all my time being run off my feet. It isn't as if I ever even get a free moment to

  pick up a remote and go, 'Ho hum, I wonder if there's a Tracy Gold movie on'.

  No. I mean, even now I am supposed to be taking notes on Grandmere's lecture about the importance of sticking to the prepared script during televised public addresses. Like I didn't get it the first time she said it, or the nine-hundredth time, or however many times it has been since Christmas Eve, when I supposedly ruined everything with my treatise on plastic

  six-pack holders.

  But let's say I even did get a moment to myself, and I wanted to, you know, send an email to one of my friends, or perhaps even my BOYFRIEND. Well, not so simple, because guess what, castles built in the 1600s simply aren't wired for the World Wide Web. And yeah, the Palais de Genovia audio-visual squad is trying, but you still have, like, three feet of sandstone, or whatever the palace is made out of, to bore through before you can even start installing any cable. It is like trying to wire the Alamo.

  Oh, yeah, and the toilets? Let me just tell you that back in the 1600s, they didn't know so much about sewerage. So now, four hundred years later, if you put one square too much toilet paper in the bowl and try to flush, you create a mini indoor tsunami.

  Plus, the only person living here in the castle who is remotely close to my age is my cousin, Prince Rene, who spends

  inordinate amounts of time gazing at his own reflection in the back of his ceremonial sword. And technically he isn't even

  really my cousin anyway. Some ancestor of his was awarded a principality by the king of Italy way back in like 600AD,

  same as great-great-and-so-on Grandma Rosagunde. Except that Rene's principality no longer exists, as it was absorbed

  into Italy three hundred years ago.

  Rene doesn't seem to mind, though, because everyone still calls him His Highness Prince Rene, and he is extended every privilege of a member of the royal household — even though his palace now belongs to a famous shoe designer, who has turned it into a resort for wealthy Americans to come for the weekend and make their own pasta and drink two-hundred-year-old balsamic vinegar.

  Still, just because Rene is four years older than me, and a freshman at some French business school, doesn't mean he has the right to patronize me. I mean, I believe gambling is morally wrong, and the fact that Prince Rene spends so many hours at the roulette wheel instead of utilizing his time in a more productive fashion - such as helping to promote the protection of the