How to Survive a Summer Romance (or Two)
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I so never planned on having a summer romance. And I totally never expected my mother to have one. I mean, she's such a relic that her husband is actually my father.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I want to tell this story before I forget it. After all, in just a few short years I'll be in my twenties and I'll start losing ten thousand brain cells a day.
So, near as I can remember, this is the beginning …
"Wake up, sleepyhead."
An elbow jabbed my ribs. Brian's elbow. Panic! Confusion! What was I doing waking up with Brian? I'd be grounded until the next century!
"Kaysie, you were the one who wanted to see the sunrise. Remember?" Brian sighed. "That's why we've been parked at the edge of Stanton Pond for the last hour."
"Oh …" I lifted my head from Brian's shoulder. "Right."
I yawned and stretched, then focused my eyes on the horizon. The sky turned pink. Rays of pale golden light filtered through the maple trees lining the far side of the pond. The sky grew brighter until the great yellow sphere appeared. I closed my eyes. Even in the car I felt the warmth of the sun on my face.
I hoped it signaled a beginning and not an end. I hadn't really wanted to see the sunrise so much as I'd wanted to spend another hour with Brian. I mean, at long last, after several false starts, I actually had a boyfriend. Being with him for his graduation party wasn't enough. Not when, in a few short hours, I would be dragged off to Lake Whatamacallit for a whole month.
"I'm going to miss you," Brian said.
"Me, too." It totally wasn't fair. We'd started dating only two months ago. For a moment, I almost smiled as I remembered celebrating my sixteenth birthday at The Pizza Parlor with my best friend, Venetia. Brian had strolled by and noticed the candles on my sausage-and-mushroom pizza.
"So, you're sixteen now …," he'd said with a big smile.
Next day he called and asked me out. I was so shocked I needed a self-inflicted Heimlich maneuver. Not that I was couple crazed. But I was ready to relate. I managed to say Yes. I mean, on the Boy-o-meter scale, Brian was definitely cute, almost to the point of being hot, and, not-so-incidentally, he was a main brain.
"I wish I'd get more time off this summer," Brian said, dragging me back to the present. "Then I could visit you."
"Me, too." I tried to swallow the trace of resentment I still had after hearing about Brian's job. Only one day off every two weeks! Not enough time to drive up from Connecticut to visit me in New Hampshire. Okay, being a counselor at the camp for disadvantaged kids was important to him. I guess that was one of the reasons I cared about him. But there was this small part of me okay, a not-so-small part that wished he couldn't live without me. I mean, is that too much to ask?
Then, out of the currently clear blue sky, Brian said those magic words, "I love you." He twisted his school ring off his finger and held it up to me. "And … and I'd like you to wear this."
Whoa! No one I knew gave a girl his school ring. That was the kind of thing that went on in the olden days when Mom was young. But when I saw the sunlight bouncing off the gold, I lusted after that ring. "Oh, Brian," I whispered as I reached for it.
"But, well, um … we have to say goodbye for now." He stuck the ring back on his finger!
Brian was quiet for a moment, then said, "I I don't know exactly how to say this. But, uh, after you come back, if we … we still feel the same way about each other, would you take my ring then?"
"I don't have to wait!" I blurted out. "I know how I feel right now." Gold fever! I want that ring! I must have it!