A Midsummer's Nightmare - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. Whitley Johnson's dream summer of shopping, partying and . Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorce dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancee and her kids. The fiancee's son? Whitley's. Editorial Reviews. Review. Praise for A Midsummer's Nightmare: "There's a lot to love about this story. Whitley's a smart, assertive girl and a refreshing change.

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A Midsummers Nightmare Pdf

download or read book online in pdf or epub. Read A Midsummer's Nightmare Online Mobi Pages. Read / Download now on ruthenpress.info Pros: * Not your typical summer romance story * Main character actually has reason to behave the way she does * Step-parent is actually a human being who . A Midsummer's Nightmare book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has.

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Or it used to be. Anyway, you wont get caught, he added, pushing himself up on the pillows. Moms not here.

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She and my sister had to leave town before graduation to 3 meet the movers. Thats why I offered to have the party here.

Partly for graduation, and partly as a going-away celebration. Okay, okay. I just needed a yes or no, not his whole life story. I grabbed my purse off the dresser. So Ill use the front door. No big deal. Hold on a sec. He sat up straight, letting the covers fall away from his bare chest. He was definitely hot. Good body. I vaguely remembered telling him that, too. A tiny memory trickled into my consciousness: me giggling, poking him in the chest just after Id pulled his shirt over his head.

Nice muscles youve got there, stud. Hed laughed and kissed me. Hed been a good kisser. That was the most I could recall at the moment, though. Can I get your number? So I can, you know, give you a call sometime. Oh, God, was he serious? Not that I had a whole lot of experience with one-night stands I didnt, really; I mean, I could count the number of boys Id slept with on one hand. But I had fooled around with a lot of guys while drunk, and most of them had the good sense not to try to keep in touch after.

It was better for both of us if we just went on with our lives, pretending like the whole thing had never happened. Apparently this dude why couldnt I remember his name? Listen, I said, looking away from him as I pulled out the 4 condom wrapper that had managed to get tangled inside my shirt. We just graduated, and after this summer were off to college.

So whats the point of staying in contact, really? Poor guy. I couldnt even let him down easy. This hangover was so bad. I met his eyes again, knowing I needed to get this over with so I could get out of there. I think we should leave things where they are and, you know, never ever see each other again. Not really. He blew air out of his mouth in a rush. Thats kind of harsh. Maybe, but he was better off. It wasnt as if someone like me would have made a good girlfriend anyway.

I was just some drunken hookup. Thats all Id ever been. Look, youre moving, right? Im sure tons of girls in your new town will totally go for the slouchy pretty-boy thing youve got going on. You wont even remember last night in a week. I barely remember already. I shrugged and slung my purse over my shoulder, one hand against the wall to keep me stable. So, nice party. I had a good time. I, um, wont see you around. But I was already out of the bedroom and weaving unsteadily down the hall.

I needed to get out of there. Not only was I ready to get away from Mr. Clingy, but I also really had to get home. Mom was waiting for me, and I had a shitload of packing to do before Dad showed up in his SUV the next day. Beer cans and half-empty bags of chips had been tossed all over the floor. A recliner and an end table, the only pieces of furniture I guess the rest had already been sent to his new place , were overturned.

A couple stragglers remained passed out on the floor. I felt a little bad for whatshisname. He had a real mess to clean up. I was so glad not to be him. Thats what he got for volunteering to host a graduation bash, though.

I tripped over the garbage on my way to the front door, wincing when the light hit my eyes. My head hurt like hell, but at least I wasnt puking. After four years of going to high school keggers and crashing the occasional frat party Id learned to hold my alcohol pretty well.

Better than a lot of girls my age, anyway. Most of the girls I saw at parties were kissing the toilet after a couple bottles of Smirnoff Ice, then had to be carried out by their football player boyfriends.

With a sigh, I dug my cell phone out of my purse and dialed the number to the cab company. I seriously hoped I wouldnt get a chatty driver. If he said more than five words to me, I wasnt going to tip. Mom was sitting at the kitchen table when I got home, eating frozen waffles in her housecoat and watching Good Morning America.

She looked up when I walked through the door, the syrup bottle in her hand. How was the rest of your night? Good, I mumbled, going straight for the fridge. My mouth was unbelievably dry. Sorry I didnt call. Oh, thats fine. I figured you were staying over at Nolas.

I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade, not bothering to inform my mother that Nola and I hadnt spoken since ninth grade. For a second, I wondered whether shed notice if I did a line of coke on the table right in front of her. I doubted it. Trace sent you something, she said as I sat down in the chair beside her, clutching some Saltines for good measure and positioning myself to see the TV, which was on the counter across from us.

She doused her waffles in syrup and pushed the bottle to the side. I put it on your bed. We sat in silence for a long moment before Mom finally asked, So, are you excited about graduating?

She kept staring at the TV, watching as the national weather guy moved on from our part of the country and pointed at Florida, informing us that it was sunny no shit, Sherlock. I got the feeling Mom didnt really give a damn about the answer. It was just one of those questions you ask because it makes you a crappy parent if you dont. Not really, I said, twisting the cap on the Gatorade and taking a big gulp.

Graduating isnt a big deal. Itll be nice to start college, though. Dad loved UK. Hopefully he can help me pick a goddamn major. And, honey, be careful about taking your fathers advice on this stuff.

He cant even make smart life choices for himself, let alone help you make yours. I scowled at her before taking another drink.

Six years after the divorce, and she still slammed Dad at every opportunity. Youd think shed be over it by now. I dont see anything wrong with how Dad lives, I told her. She laughed bitterly. In that trashy condo? Jumping from girlfriend to girlfriend? Forty-eight years old and still hasnt grown up at all. He cant even make enough time to see his own daughter more than once a year.

Thats your fault, I thought. I stood up and tossed my Gatorade bottle in the trash, mumbling, Im going to lie down. All right, honey.

Mom speared a bite of waffle with her fork. I hope you get to feeling better. And dont forget to pack. Your father will be here to pick you up at noon tomorrow. But you know how punctual he is. I didnt listen closely to the rest of her tirade. I was halfway inside my bedroom before she finally shut up. When it came to Dad, my mother never knew when to just leave it alone.

Everything about him annoyed her now: the way he dressed, the way he drove; she even said that the sound of his laugh made her cringe. She couldnt see how alike my father and I were, totally oblivious to the fact that some of the traits she loathed in him were part of me, too. The worst part, though, was that Dad never said a bad word about her. She didnt know it, or she was too bitter to see, but Dad still cared about her feelings.

That was the reason hed said no when Id asked to live with him four years ago he said it would break Moms heart if I moved out. I never told Mom Id asked Dad that. But over the years that followed, I became more and more certain that he was wrong. She wouldnt have even noticed if I left. She could bitch to a houseplant just as well as she could to me. With my head hurting even worse, I yanked the curtains closed to block out any trace of sunlight and fell onto my bed, burying my face in the pillow with a groan.

I felt something stiff and crinkly under my stomach and sighed. The room had finally stopped spinning now that I was lying down, and sitting up seemed like a bad idea. Moving as little as possible, I reached beneath me and pulled out the offending object, holding it up to examine it. It was the thing Trace had sent me. A blue envelope with my name written across it with a pretty pink gel pen. Emilys doing, for sure. My brothers penmanship was shit.

With slow, unsteady movements, I opened the envelope and pulled out the card inside. What a clich. Inside, though, my brother had crossed out all the cheesy poem crap and written his own message.

Of course, since Trace wrote it himself in his sloppy boy handwriting, it took me a few minutes to decipher. Love, the best big brother ever and Emily and Marie, too I smiled. It was a mark of how much I loved my big brother that I found his lack of punctuation and proper grammar endearing.

Emily and Trace had been married for about two years. They met when Trace got his job as the assistant to some talent agent out in Los Angeles. Emily was an actress which means she was a waitress who was originally sleeping with Traces boss, trying to get parts.

But then she met Trace, and he claims it was love at first sight. Normally, if someone told me that, Id gag, but I bought Traces story. After they met, Emily dumped agent-man she wasnt getting any gigs anyway and started dating my brother.

I figured that would be a conflict of interest with Traces job or something, but I guess that kind of crazy stuff happens all the time in Hollywood because he was still working for the guy. He even got promoted after that. And Emily had Marie, their daughter, just last month. That was why Trace hadnt made it to my graduation. Marie was too little to fly, and Trace didnt want to leave Emily at home with the baby by herself.

He had a lot going on. And picking up and flying all the way out here for just one night would have been stupid. I mean, Dad hadnt even been able to make it because of work, and he lived within driving distance.

It was no big deal. The ceremony was dumb anyway. But it would have been nice to see Trace. Next year, I thought, putting away the card and check hed sent before curling up on my side and closing my eyes to fight off the headache. Dad and I will fly out to California together during his vacation.

No work, no Mom driving us crazy. Itll be great. Next year. And with that thought, I drifted off to sleep. I think she was shooting for California or Hawaii or something, but instead we wound up only two hundred and fifty miles away, just far enough so our antenna didnt pick up Channel My dad was this hotshot news anchor.

He was, like, the most popular television personality in the tristate area or something. Channel 34 had the lowest ratings of all the local networks before they hired Greg Johnson to do the morning news. And everyone fell in love with him. Women wanted to date him, and men wanted to go fishing with him.

Suddenly, Channel 34 was the most popular station in the area. So, naturally, my mother wanted to move to a place where no one had ever heard of my dad. Even if that meant I was living far away from him, too. At twelve, I was already old enough to realize how selfish my mother was being. She moved us to a city four and a half hours from Dad all the way to fucking Indiana yet she had the nerve to bitch about how he didnt spend enough time with me.

For Gods sake, it wasnt his fault that she wasnt mature enough to live in the same state as her ex or that he had a job that took up a lot of his time, even weekends. Because of her, any traditional custody agreement just wasnt feasible. So Dad and I worked out a more convenient system. Id spent every summer for the last six years at my dads condo. He lived only a few miles from Kentucky Lake, so I wasted most of the hot days stretched out on a towel, getting a tan on the beach.

At night, Dad would fire up the grill, and last year hed even mixed us a few drinks, making me promise Mom wouldnt find out. Sometimes his girlfriend whoever she was that month would come over, but hed never let her stay long. The summer was our time. Our time to make up for the months spent apart. And this was the last summer before college.

A Midsummer's Nightmare

I imagined sitting on the beach with Dad, talking about his days at University of Kentucky where Id be starting in September him telling me the crazy stories from his fraternity days while we drank together. Maybe hed even help me figure out what to major in when I got to UK.

Mom said I should focus on business, but Dad knew me better than she did. That could be our project for the summer, deciding what I should do for the rest of my life. I tossed my duffel bag into the back of his SUV, eager to hit the road and get our summer started. He was sitting in the drivers seat, talking to somebody on his cell phone and pretending he didnt notice Mom watching him from the front window of the house.

Shed never come outside when Dad was here. Shed swear she wanted nothing to do with him, but I always saw her watching. Ready to go, munchkin? Dad asked, shutting his cell phone and plugging it into the car charger. I slammed the SUVs door. Did you tell your mom good-bye? Yeah, I muttered, climbing into the front seat. Lets just get out of here. First put on your seat belt. I sighed, pulling the belt across me.

Dont act so casual about it. He revved the engine. We just aired a special report over at the station about the death rate for car accidents, and its unreal the difference that little lap belt will make. Dad chuckled. I dont know what Im going to do with you, munchkin, he said, already backing out of my driveway.

I turned, thinking I might at least wave good-bye to Mom, but she wasnt at the window anymore. The blinds were shut. I wondered if shed gone back to bed, if shed stay 14 there for days the way she did for the first couple years after the divorce. The sick part was that shes the one who left Dad. I think part of her assumed hed chase after her or beg her not to go. But he didnt. After two months of separation, he sent her divorce papers, already signed.

I didnt blame him. They fought all the time about stupid stuff. I was sure that was why Trace moved across the country after graduation to get away from the drama. I was probably the only twelveyear-old to ever be relieved that her parents were getting divorced. I was less relieved, however, when I realized this meant I had to live with my mom full-time. The first two years were the worst. When she wasnt depressed, she was angry.

She was still angry now. Sorry I couldnt make it to your graduation, Dad was saying as we swerved through lunch-hour traffic. I wanted to be there, but with my work schedule, it just wasnt possible. Its cool, I said, watching as the tall buildings of the city zoomed past the windows. Graduations nothing special anyway. Its actually really boring. But Mom recorded the ceremony on my digital camera so I could send it to Trace.

If you want, I can load the file onto your computer and show you the footage once we get to the condo. I have some news. I turned to look at him, a little nervous as I remembered the beloved condo with its bright retro paintings and squeaky floorboards.

Nothing to get worked up about. You dont have ants again, do you? I keep saying that you need to get a real exterminator in there instead of trying to do everything yourself. No, its not ants, he said. And I dont think well have to worry about those pests again because. I repeated. You mean, like, to a new house?

Thats what I mean. I stared at him, shocked. Why would you move? Did you want a place closer to the lake or something? No, it wasnt about the beach. Then why give up the condo? I asked. If youre not going closer to the lake, theres no reason to live in Millerton. Well, I agree. But thats just it. Im not living in Millerton. But youve always lived in Millerton. You grew up there I grew up there. Why would you leave?

Youll see when we get to Hamilton. Youll love it there, munchkin, he assured me. Its a nice little neighborhood. Great surroundings. Wonderful people. Youll love spending your summer there, I promise. Its even better than Millerton. Hamilton was a hellhole. I discovered this three and a half hours later, after listening to every song on my iPod multiple times.

Id spent the drive giving Dad the silent treatment, annoyed that he hadnt 16 warned me about this move. Hed always had a bad habit of springing things on me, like new girlfriends those never lasted long enough to matter, though or remodeling the condo.

But never anything as drastic as moving to a new town. A new, crappy town. I was just thinking that I needed to get on iTunes to download some music when Dads SUV rumbled past the welcome to hamilton! As soon as I saw that exclamation mark, I knew I was doomed. It only got worse as we drove farther into town. One stoplight. A population of less than a thousand. And definitely, definitely no beach. In fact, Dads new house was on the opposite side of Channel 34s viewing area, which put us more than a hundred miles from the lake.

Great, I muttered, watching out the window as white picket fence after white picket fence zoomed past. So much for spending the summer in a bikini. Hey, dont get upset just yet, munchkin. He reached over to pat me on the knee. Millerton had been twice the size of this place. It wasnt really a city, but there was a mall, at least, and all the houses didnt look exactly alike. There had been some diversity, some color. There were skate parks and weekend mini-golf places.

And sometimes Dad took me to the go-kart track in the summer. As we drove through the town, I spotted a library, a grocery store, a bank, and absolutely nothing fun to do. Im going to be so pale when I start college, I whined. Youll still get a tan. We already have a pool.

How are you leaving? Im not. This is my house. So Id screwed the host. I hadnt seen that one coming. The address was scribbled on every seniors hand yesterday, and Id never thought to ask who lived in the place.

A party was a party. Didnt matter who threw it. Or it used to be. Anyway, you wont get caught, he added, pushing himself up on the pillows. Moms not here. She and my sister had to leave town before graduation to 3 meet the movers. Thats why I offered to have the party here. Partly for graduation, and partly as a going-away celebration. Okay, okay. I just needed a yes or no, not his whole life story.

I grabbed my purse off the dresser. So Ill use the front door.

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

No big deal. Hold on a sec. He sat up straight, letting the covers fall away from his bare chest. He was definitely hot.

Good body. I vaguely remembered telling him that, too. A tiny memory trickled into my consciousness: me giggling, poking him in the chest just after Id pulled his shirt over his head. Nice muscles youve got there, stud. Hed laughed and kissed me. Hed been a good kisser. That was the most I could recall at the moment, though. Can I get your number? So I can, you know, give you a call sometime.

Oh, God, was he serious? Not that I had a whole lot of experience with one-night stands I didnt, really; I mean, I could count the number of boys Id slept with on one hand.

But I had fooled around with a lot of guys while drunk, and most of them had the good sense not to try to keep in touch after.

It was better for both of us if we just went on with our lives, pretending like the whole thing had never happened. Apparently this dude why couldnt I remember his name? Listen, I said, looking away from him as I pulled out the 4 condom wrapper that had managed to get tangled inside my shirt. We just graduated, and after this summer were off to college. So whats the point of staying in contact, really?

Poor guy. I couldnt even let him down easy. This hangover was so bad. I met his eyes again, knowing I needed to get this over with so I could get out of there. I think we should leave things where they are and, you know, never ever see each other again. Not really.

He blew air out of his mouth in a rush. Thats kind of harsh. Maybe, but he was better off. It wasnt as if someone like me would have made a good girlfriend anyway. I was just some drunken hookup. Thats all Id ever been.

Look, youre moving, right? Im sure tons of girls in your new town will totally go for the slouchy pretty-boy thing youve got going on. You wont even remember last night in a week. I barely remember already. I shrugged and slung my purse over my shoulder, one hand against the wall to keep me stable.

So, nice party. I had a good time. I, um, wont see you around. But I was already out of the bedroom and weaving unsteadily down the hall. I needed to get out of there. Not only was I ready to get away from Mr. Clingy, but I also really had to get home. Mom was waiting for me, and I had a shitload of packing to do before Dad showed up in his SUV the next day. Beer cans and half-empty bags of chips had been tossed all over the floor. A recliner and an end table, the only pieces of furniture I guess the rest had already been sent to his new place , were overturned.

A couple stragglers remained passed out on the floor. I felt a little bad for whatshisname. He had a real mess to clean up. I was so glad not to be him. Thats what he got for volunteering to host a graduation bash, though.

I tripped over the garbage on my way to the front door, wincing when the light hit my eyes. My head hurt like hell, but at least I wasnt puking.

After four years of going to high school keggers and crashing the occasional frat party Id learned to hold my alcohol pretty well. Better than a lot of girls my age, anyway. Most of the girls I saw at parties were kissing the toilet after a couple bottles of Smirnoff Ice, then had to be carried out by their football player boyfriends. With a sigh, I dug my cell phone out of my purse and dialed the number to the cab company. I seriously hoped I wouldnt get a chatty driver. If he said more than five words to me, I wasnt going to tip.

Mom was sitting at the kitchen table when I got home, eating frozen waffles in her housecoat and watching Good Morning America. She looked up when I walked through the door, the syrup bottle in her hand.

How was the rest of your night? Good, I mumbled, going straight for the fridge. My mouth was unbelievably dry. Sorry I didnt call. Oh, thats fine. I figured you were staying over at Nolas. I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade, not bothering to inform my mother that Nola and I hadnt spoken since ninth grade. For a second, I wondered whether shed notice if I did a line of coke on the table right in front of her. I doubted it.

Trace sent you something, she said as I sat down in the chair beside her, clutching some Saltines for good measure and positioning myself to see the TV, which was on the counter across from us.

She doused her waffles in syrup and pushed the bottle to the side. I put it on your bed. We sat in silence for a long moment before Mom finally asked, So, are you excited about graduating? She kept staring at the TV, watching as the national weather guy moved on from our part of the country and pointed at Florida, informing us that it was sunny no shit, Sherlock.

I got the feeling Mom didnt really give a damn about the answer. It was just one of those questions you ask because it makes you a crappy parent if you dont. Not really, I said, twisting the cap on the Gatorade and taking a big gulp.

Graduating isnt a big deal. Itll be nice to start college, though. Dad loved UK. Hopefully he can help me pick a goddamn major. And, honey, be careful about taking your fathers advice on this stuff. He cant even make smart life choices for himself, let alone help you make yours. I scowled at her before taking another drink. Six years after the divorce, and she still slammed Dad at every opportunity.

Youd think shed be over it by now. I dont see anything wrong with how Dad lives, I told her. She laughed bitterly. In that trashy condo? Jumping from girlfriend to girlfriend? Forty-eight years old and still hasnt grown up at all. He cant even make enough time to see his own daughter more than once a year. Thats your fault, I thought. I stood up and tossed my Gatorade bottle in the trash, mumbling, Im going to lie down.

All right, honey. Mom speared a bite of waffle with her fork. I hope you get to feeling better. And dont forget to pack. Your father will be here to pick you up at noon tomorrow. But you know how punctual he is. I didnt listen closely to the rest of her tirade.

I was halfway inside my bedroom before she finally shut up. When it came to Dad, my mother never knew when to just leave it alone. Everything about him annoyed her now: the way he dressed, the way he drove; she even said that the sound of his laugh made her cringe.

She couldnt see how alike my father and I were, totally oblivious to the fact that some of the traits she loathed in him were part of me, too. The worst part, though, was that Dad never said a bad word about her.

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She didnt know it, or she was too bitter to see, but Dad still cared about her feelings. That was the reason hed said no when Id asked to live with him four years ago he said it would break Moms heart if I moved out.

I never told Mom Id asked Dad that. But over the years that followed, I became more and more certain that he was wrong. She wouldnt have even noticed if I left. She could bitch to a houseplant just as well as she could to me. With my head hurting even worse, I yanked the curtains closed to block out any trace of sunlight and fell onto my bed, burying my face in the pillow with a groan.

I felt something stiff and crinkly under my stomach and sighed. The room had finally stopped spinning now that I was lying down, and sitting up seemed like a bad idea. Moving as little as possible, I reached beneath me and pulled out the offending object, holding it up to examine it.

It was the thing Trace had sent me. A blue envelope with my name written across it with a pretty pink gel pen. Emilys doing, for sure. My brothers penmanship was shit. With slow, unsteady movements, I opened the envelope and pulled out the card inside.

What a clich. Inside, though, my brother had crossed out all the cheesy poem crap and written his own message. Of course, since Trace wrote it himself in his sloppy boy handwriting, it took me a few minutes to decipher. Love, the best big brother ever and Emily and Marie, too I smiled. It was a mark of how much I loved my big brother that I found his lack of punctuation and proper grammar endearing.

Emily and Trace had been married for about two years. They met when Trace got his job as the assistant to some talent agent out in Los Angeles. Emily was an actress which means she was a waitress who was originally sleeping with Traces boss, trying to get parts.

But then she met Trace, and he claims it was love at first sight. Normally, if someone told me that, Id gag, but I bought Traces story. After they met, Emily dumped agent-man she wasnt getting any gigs anyway and started dating my brother. I figured that would be a conflict of interest with Traces job or something, but I guess that kind of crazy stuff happens all the time in Hollywood because he was still working for the guy.

He even got promoted after that. And Emily had Marie, their daughter, just last month. That was why Trace hadnt made it to my graduation. Marie was too little to fly, and Trace didnt want to leave Emily at home with the baby by herself. He had a lot going on. And picking up and flying all the way out here for just one night would have been stupid. I mean, Dad hadnt even been able to make it because of work, and he lived within driving distance. It was no big deal.

The ceremony was dumb anyway. But it would have been nice to see Trace.

A Midsummer's Nightmare

Next year, I thought, putting away the card and check hed sent before curling up on my side and closing my eyes to fight off the headache. Dad and I will fly out to California together during his vacation.

No work, no Mom driving us crazy. Itll be great. Next year. And with that thought, I drifted off to sleep. I think she was shooting for California or Hawaii or something, but instead we wound up only two hundred and fifty miles away, just far enough so our antenna didnt pick up Channel My dad was this hotshot news anchor.

He was, like, the most popular television personality in the tristate area or something. Channel 34 had the lowest ratings of all the local networks before they hired Greg Johnson to do the morning news. And everyone fell in love with him. Women wanted to date him, and men wanted to go fishing with him. Suddenly, Channel 34 was the most popular station in the area.

So, naturally, my mother wanted to move to a place where no one had ever heard of my dad. Even if that meant I was living far away from him, too. At twelve, I was already old enough to realize how selfish my mother was being. She moved us to a city four and a half hours from Dad all the way to fucking Indiana yet she had the nerve to bitch about how he didnt spend enough time with me.

For Gods sake, it wasnt his fault that she wasnt mature enough to live in the same state as her ex or that he had a job that took up a lot of his time, even weekends.

Because of her, any traditional custody agreement just wasnt feasible. So Dad and I worked out a more convenient system. Id spent every summer for the last six years at my dads condo. He lived only a few miles from Kentucky Lake, so I wasted most of the hot days stretched out on a towel, getting a tan on the beach. At night, Dad would fire up the grill, and last year hed even mixed us a few drinks, making me promise Mom wouldnt find out.

Sometimes his girlfriend whoever she was that month would come over, but hed never let her stay long. The summer was our time. Our time to make up for the months spent apart. And this was the last summer before college. I imagined sitting on the beach with Dad, talking about his days at University of Kentucky where Id be starting in September him telling me the crazy stories from his fraternity days while we drank together.

Maybe hed even help me figure out what to major in when I got to UK. Mom said I should focus on business, but Dad knew me better than she did. That could be our project for the summer, deciding what I should do for the rest of my life. I tossed my duffel bag into the back of his SUV, eager to hit the road and get our summer started. He was sitting in the drivers seat, talking to somebody on his cell phone and pretending he didnt notice Mom watching him from the front window of the house.

Shed never come outside when Dad was here. Shed swear she wanted nothing to do with him, but I always saw her watching. Ready to go, munchkin? Dad asked, shutting his cell phone and plugging it into the car charger. I slammed the SUVs door. Did you tell your mom good-bye?

Yeah, I muttered, climbing into the front seat. Lets just get out of here. First put on your seat belt. I sighed, pulling the belt across me. Dont act so casual about it. He revved the engine. We just aired a special report over at the station about the death rate for car accidents, and its unreal the difference that little lap belt will make. Dad chuckled. I dont know what Im going to do with you, munchkin, he said, already backing out of my driveway. I turned, thinking I might at least wave good-bye to Mom, but she wasnt at the window anymore.

The blinds were shut. I wondered if shed gone back to bed, if shed stay 14 there for days the way she did for the first couple years after the divorce. The sick part was that shes the one who left Dad.

I think part of her assumed hed chase after her or beg her not to go. But he didnt. After two months of separation, he sent her divorce papers, already signed.

I didnt blame him. They fought all the time about stupid stuff. I was sure that was why Trace moved across the country after graduation to get away from the drama. I was probably the only twelveyear-old to ever be relieved that her parents were getting divorced. I was less relieved, however, when I realized this meant I had to live with my mom full-time.

The first two years were the worst. When she wasnt depressed, she was angry. She was still angry now. Sorry I couldnt make it to your graduation, Dad was saying as we swerved through lunch-hour traffic. I wanted to be there, but with my work schedule, it just wasnt possible.

Its cool, I said, watching as the tall buildings of the city zoomed past the windows. Graduations nothing special anyway. Its actually really boring. But Mom recorded the ceremony on my digital camera so I could send it to Trace. If you want, I can load the file onto your computer and show you the footage once we get to the condo.

I have some news. I turned to look at him, a little nervous as I remembered the beloved condo with its bright retro paintings and squeaky floorboards. Nothing to get worked up about. You dont have ants again, do you? I keep saying that you need to get a real exterminator in there instead of trying to do everything yourself. No, its not ants, he said. And I dont think well have to worry about those pests again because.

I repeated. You mean, like, to a new house? Thats what I mean. I stared at him, shocked. Why would you move? Did you want a place closer to the lake or something? No, it wasnt about the beach. Then why give up the condo? I asked. If youre not going closer to the lake, theres no reason to live in Millerton. Well, I agree. But thats just it. Im not living in Millerton. But youve always lived in Millerton. You grew up there I grew up there.

Why would you leave? Youll see when we get to Hamilton. Youll love it there, munchkin, he assured me.

Its a nice little neighborhood. Great surroundings. Wonderful people. Youll love spending your summer there, I promise.

A midsummer's nightmare

Its even better than Millerton. Hamilton was a hellhole. I discovered this three and a half hours later, after listening to every song on my iPod multiple times. Id spent the drive giving Dad the silent treatment, annoyed that he hadnt 16 warned me about this move. Hed always had a bad habit of springing things on me, like new girlfriends those never lasted long enough to matter, though or remodeling the condo.

But never anything as drastic as moving to a new town. A new, crappy town. I was just thinking that I needed to get on iTunes to download some music when Dads SUV rumbled past the welcome to hamilton! As soon as I saw that exclamation mark, I knew I was doomed. It only got worse as we drove farther into town. One stoplight. A population of less than a thousand. And definitely, definitely no beach. In fact, Dads new house was on the opposite side of Channel 34s viewing area, which put us more than a hundred miles from the lake.

Great, I muttered, watching out the window as white picket fence after white picket fence zoomed past. So much for spending the summer in a bikini. Hey, dont get upset just yet, munchkin. He reached over to pat me on the knee. Millerton had been twice the size of this place.

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