“What do you call that outfit?” My older brother, Kirk, looked me over and smirked as he pulled a carrot stick from a silver platter. “’Amy Flowers Wears Waitress Chic’?”

“What do you call that outfit?” I shot back, pointing at his chest. “’I’ve Only Got One Tie’?”

Kirk grimaced at his tie, which featured neon-colored cartoon fish with oversized kissy lips. “This is my only tie. Dad made me wear it.” He swiped his shaggy brown hair out of his eyes, but it fell right back into place. I’m surprised he doesn’t go around bumping into walls all day.

“You could have borrowed one of Dad’s ties,” I pointed out.

“Dad only has striped ties,” Kirk said. “I’ve only got striped shirts. I’m not about to get all clashy-clashy at some fancy party.” He crunched his carrot. “Besides, at least I have an excuse. You actually picked that outfit yourself.”

I looked down at my clothes. Actually, I’d done more than just pick them out—I’d made them. Well, I’d made the black satin skirt. The tuxedo shirt was something I’d found at a local thrift store called Retread. I’d cut off the sleeves and taken in the waist \so that it was fitted and tucked neatly into the skirt’s wide band. And I’d found this amazing black flower-print bag to go with it. It was oversized and had long handles that fit over my shoulder—it was perfect to carry all of my stuff. “Do I really look like a waitress?” I asked, suddenly wishing that I hadn’t decided to get creative with my clothes for Uncle Steve’s engagement party.

Kirk shrugged, reaching for a broccoli spear. “Not really,” he admitted. “I just like to torture you. Hey, you want anything? I’m going to get some punch.”

“I’m good.” I watched him blend into the crowd that milled around the ballroom. Kirk hadn’t been kidding—this really was a fancy party. Mom had warned me that Uncle Steve’s fiancée was seriously into style and even owned one of the coolest boutiques in town, Bounce. Still. Somehow, I hadn’t been prepared for this party—its Arabian Nights theme, complete with giant brass candelabras, plush red fabric draped along the walls, and even a belly dancer in a purple outfit with gold chains at her waist. I had lost sight of my parents long ago—they had disappeared among the swirl of elegantly dressed guests. Which was pretty amazing, given that my parents are not exactly Mr. and Mrs. Elegant. In fact, this was the first time I’d seen my mother in a skirt since Easter three years ago. And my dad—his idea of a fashion statement is a sweater vest.