Athletic Jamie isn't sure about spending the summer in the city with her romance-novel-writing mum. But when she meets irresistible Josh, Jamie realizes she could probably use all the romance advice she can get!
Lacrosse camp 9 a.m.-noon (can't be late! "Coach" Josh will freak out)
Basketball camp 1:00-4:00 (so many screaming kids. . . )
Shopping with Mona 4:30 (finally a break)
Date with Andrew 7:30 (he's so perfect. . . isn't he?)
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June 25, 2006
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Excerpt from Summer in the City by Elizabeth Chandler
"They're dancing really close, Jamie."
I nodded, unable to tear my eyes from the couple spinning slowly beneath the ballroom chandelier.
"I think his arms are Krazy Glued to her back," Mike added.
"Looks like it," I muttered, wondering how I could be the last to know about this.
"They're dancing really, really slow," said Ron, who was standing on the other side of me.
"Well, the music is slow," I pointed out.
"Dance any slower, and they're going to stop and make out."
"Ron, please!" I hissed.
But it didn't matter if anyone else overheard my two escorts and me talking. Everyone at the senior prom had already noticed. The lineup of faculty and chaperoning parents had their eyes fixed on the couple.
"Do you think old Rupert's going to break it up?" Mike asked.
Ron snorted, and I imagined our vice principal hauling the couple off the dance floor, lecturing them in the coat-check room. But the truth was, they weren't doing anything off-limits. Maybe that was what fascinated me. They gave a whole new meaning to the word romantic, showing the rest of us, who went from a clumsy version of slow dancing to a clumsy version of stuff that was off-limits--in about fifteen seconds--to be total amateurs.
I watched the guy who, earlier in the even-ing, had gazed at me in my green, strapless gown, and said, "My God, who is this beautiful woman?"
I watched the one guy who'd always made me feel good about myself, the one guy I could count on whenever I had a problem, looking at someone else as if she were his whole world, as if he wanted to ride off into the sunset with her. Well, after this prom was over, he and I were going to have a talk, a good, long talk.
I just hoped he made it home before I did. It's embarrassing when your dad has a better time at your prom than you.
At six A.M., with Mike curled up and sleeping like a six-foot-five baby in the back seat of the car, Ron walked me to the front door. "You're the best, Jamie," Ron said.
"Yeah, thanks, it was fun," I told him. "Good night--good morning--whatever."
And good-bye to the most disappointing high school dating career in Michigan, I thought. Well, that was an exaggeration--it's not like I had distinguished myself in that category. No, I had simply joined the very large club of high school girls who hoped things would be better in college. Some of those girls didn't go to our prom at all; some went with girlfriends; some went with guys they had dated forever and wondered why they had even bothered; and some, like me, got together with guys who were "just friends." I happened to have two "just friends" who couldn't face asking a real date to the prom, but being jocks, were too embarrassed to go with each other.
Walking to the front door, I noticed that Dad's car was missing from the driveway. I let myself into the silent house. Our rancher, one of the newer houses at the edge of our small Michigan town, was a place guys loved to hang out, with chip bowls instead of vases decorating the living room, sports trophies lining the fireplace mantel, and a big-screen TV facing a black leather sectional. There were smaller TVs on either side of the big screen, because sometimes great games are scheduled for the same time slot, and watching a game on tape just isn't the same. I have trouble remembering the way the place looked eight years ago, when my parents filed for divorce.
My mother loved me, and I loved her, but from the moment I was born, I was Dad's kid. I played every version of little league sports available to girls and tagged along with him to practices and games when he was a young coach teaching at the only high school in town, the one from which I was now graduating. It was natural that the guys who hung around Coach Carvelli's house, even as they gradually became my age, were great buddies with "Coach's kid." The fact that I could even off a pickup game--and was better than some of the guys my dad coached--was a big plus. For them.
Something had happened to me in the last two years. No, not hormones--those kicked in at the beginning of middle school when I first started noticing more about Dad's players than their game stats. In some ways it would have been a lot easier if I could have said to my girlfriends, who think that I am lucky to hang around a lot of guy jocks, "I am so freakin' frustrated by all these turkeys who want to be just friends. I want sex." I mean, everybody is supposed to want that, right? But what I wanted was a whole lot more and a whole lot harder to come by: romance. Judging from the way the other girls at the prom were watching Dad and Miss Matlock, wrapped in each other's arms, off in a world of their own, maybe romance wasn't an easy thing for any of us to come by--even those who didn't stand six feet tall in their glittery stocking feet.
I looked down, then peeled off my sparkling panty hose and draped them on this year's trophy for All-Regional Girls Athlete, front and center over the fireplace. Outside, a car door closed quietly. I had left the front door open, so Dad knew I was home and awake. It seemed to me he took an unusually long time to walk from our driveway to the house.
"Oh, hello," he said, trying to look surprised to see me. I saw myself in the reflection of our big-screen TV, standing stiffly with my arms folded, my blonde hair a tangled mess, looking like a parent who had been kept up way too long.