The Baby-Sitters Club doesn't belong to me. It belongs to Ann M. Martin. Thank you for your cooperation!

I was watching Gone of the Wind, which is one of my favorite movies, on a Saturday afternoon. My father, who is a lawyer, had a four-hour meeting since eleven this morning and won't be home until after two-thirty this afternoon. My stepmother, Sharon Schafer, is out with her parents to lunch and a movie, and my stepsister, Dawn, is baby-sitting until five. The only ones who are home with me are my adopted siblings, Carlos Peters and Meredith Sousa. My cat, Tigger, was sitting on my lap like he always does.

Who am I? I'm Mary Anne Spier. I'm a shy fourteen-year-old ninth grader at Stoneybrook High School, here in Stoneybrook, Connecticut. School is ending in a week or two and I can't wait for it to arrive. Dad and I lived on our own for a long since Mom died when I was too young to remember her. I grew up on Bradford Court. Sharon actually happened to be Dad's former high school girlfriend. She recently got divorced and moved here all the way from California with Dawn and her younger brother, Jeff. Dawn and I quickly became best friends long before Dad and Sharon finally got married... and now, we're stepsisters! I live on Burnt Hill Road now because the old house is too small for the Schafers to move in with me and Dad.

Jeff was already gone back to California to be with his father because he was very miserable here. Poor Dawn was torn because her family has been split in half ever since. But she does visit them often and Jeff visits here.

After the movie ended, I went up to my room to read Little Women. It was only two-fifteen, so Dad would be home soon. Then, we'd be spending the rest of the afternoon together for a father-daughter day. We love that and are very close.

Thirty minutes later, I heard a door open and shut as I came out and noticed it was Dad who just came home.

"Hi, Dad," I greeted him.

"Hi, sweetie," smiled Dad. "I'll go shower first and then, we can leave for the afternoon."

"Sounds good to me," I agreed. "I'll be downstairs in the living room while I wait."

"Okay," said Dad.

He did went up to shower and was ready in ten minutes when he came back downstairs,

"All set to go?" asked Dad.

"You bet I am," I said.

"Meredith! Carlos! We'll be back later on after dinner!" Dad called to them.

"Okay, Dad," said Meredith and Carlos.

We adopted them not long ago. Carlos has no family since he was eight years old. His older brother was ill with a scarlet fever at age eleven and his older sister, who was nine, & his parents were killed in a car accident. It was very tough on him. His room was our old attic.

Meredith lost her father a few years ago after a tour bus blew up. Her mom and sister died the same way while she was an exchange student from London, England. Boy, did she took it badly for a week and I supported her to make her feel better. I love them both. We share my room.

"So, how did the meeting go?" I asked.

"Very long," replied Dad.

"I bet," I said.

"I'll be going away on a business trip for a month starting tomorrow," said Dad.

"A month?" I asked as he nodded. "Was that why you were at the meeting?"

"Yes. Kind of. They'll be promoting me to a higher level after the business trip ends," continued Dad.

"That's cool," I said.

"I'm glad. I'll be an assistant manger while being the lawyer," Dad kept on.

"Awesome, Dad," I smiled.

"So, this means if Randy is out at anytime, I might have to work a bit later," added Dad.

"Oh," I said as my smile nearly faded away.

"Plus, I'll be doing more jury duties, but not every single weekend though, so we still can have our father-daughter days," said Dad.

"Oh, good," I said.

"What can I do is once I get my schedule for jury duties, I can circle the non-jury duties on the weekends so we'll know when we can get together," said Dad.

"I like that idea," I agreed.

"So do I," smiled Dad.

"I might or might not be home for dinner since I'll be home two hours late, but only when Randy's out," said Dad.

"This means the rest of us would be the bachelor girls while you and Carlos are away," I joked as we both laughed.

Carlos and his baseball game from Stoneybrook High School will be away in Orlando, Florida for a month. At the mall, which is our favorite spot to hang-out, we explored at FYE, a small variety store so Dad can get snacks for the business trip in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Borders. After that, we saw a movie and ate at Johnny Rockets for supper.

"It's too bad it's our last dinner to be together for awhile," I said while waiting for our meals.

"I know. I won't be leaving until after breakfast. The cab is getting me for nine-thirty to catch the ten-thirty flight like Randy mentioned," said Dad.

"Oh. At least a month would fly by," I said.

"I agree with you, Mary Anne," said Dad. "I might be able to come home early."

"Sweet," I said.

"I hope so that is since a month is very long," said Dad.

"True, especially being away from your family for that long," I agreed.