While her class played outside at recess, Camila stood by the window looking outside. She saw Brad and Ellen talking. They did not see her, and she could hear what they were saying.

"Are you coming to the party on Saturday?" Ellen asked Brad.

"Of course," he replied. "I would not miss it for the world!"

"Neither would I," said Ellen. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

They kept talking as they moved away from under the window and onto the playground.

Camila was puzzled. She wondered which party they were talking about and why Ellen, her best friend, had not told her about it. A tear formed in her eye.

After recess, she went over to Ellen's desk. "Is there something you're not telling me?" she asked.

Ellen looked up at her, confused. "Like what?"

"That you're planning to go somewhere this weekend," Camila responded. She did not want to say the word 'party', afraid that Ellen would know that she had listened in on her talk with Brad.

"I don't know what you are talking about," Ellen replied.

Camila felt her face turn red. "You do too know. You just don't want to be my friend anymore." With that said, she walked away.

Ellen was her best friend. Why did she not want her at the party?

Later in the afternoon, Camila walked up to Brad. She wanted to find out if there really was going to be a party.

"So... are you going to the party this weekend?" she asked him.

"Y-you mean...," he stuttered, and then stopped suddenly. "Wait. Which party are you talking about?" Brad turned, peering into the hallway. "Sorry, Rick is calling me." Then he got up and hurried away.

"So, there was going to be a party after all," Camila mumbled to herself. "And no one wants to tell me that I'm not invited."

She let out a deep sigh. If this was true, it was just horrible!

Camila kept hoping that she was mistaken, that maybe she had misheard her friends, but later in the day she knew that something was really going on. Whenever the girls were talking, and they saw her coming, they'd stop immediately.

She was now even more upset. Camila felt left out and all alone. She wondered why her friends were doing this to her, especially Ellen.

That evening, on her way home from school, Camila asked Ellen. "Are we going to walk home together?" They had walked home together every evening for the past two years.

Ellen looked as if she was about to say yes, but instead said, "Sorry, not today. I must go by Sophia's this evening. We're, um... We're working on a project. I'll see ya tomorrow."

A moment later, she was gone.

Camila could not believe this was happening. Now her best friend did not want to walk home with her, because she was going to someone else's house.

A very discouraged Camila walked home by herself. The more she thought about all that had happened, the more her anger grew. How dare them! Well, she was not just going to sit back and take it. She would show them.

Camila spent all night thinking of a way to get back at her so-called friends, especially Ellen.

The next morning, she woke up and still had no idea what she was going to do. All she knew was that she had to find a way to spoil that party.

At school the next day, Camila watched her friends during class as they whispered and shared gossip. Ellen was very jumpy and kept looking at her. Camila pretended she did not see this and held her head straight as she passed by them in the hall. However, she overheard one of them say that the party was going to be at Ellen's house, and they were going there right after school. Camila had been to Ellen's house many times and guessed they were going there to get things ready for the party on Saturday.

This was when an idea came to her. It made her smile - a devious smile.

As the girls left after school, Camila hurried through the gate ahead of them. She quickly took a shortcut and came to Ellen's house before her friends arrived. Camila slipped in through the bushes and hid behind a shed in the yard.

Not long after, she saw her friends enter the house. She watched them go into Ellen's room. Camila crept out from behind the shed and peeped through the window. She saw them working on party decorations. They were all smiling happily and having so much fun - and all without her.

She waited until they went into the dining room to have a snack. Then she sneaked in through the back door and hurried into Ellen's room.

The decorations were on the bed and there were crafted signs all over the place. Camila looked at all the balloons, glitter, and ribbons. They were all so very pretty, she did not want to tear them up as she had planned. Then she noticed a big, pink paper heart and picked it up. Turning it over, she read what was painted in beautiful letters: "Happy Birthday, Camila".

Lexile: 600-700
Words: 875
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Read time: 4:40
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Written by: C.S. Robin
Read by: Carissa Ferguson