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“I know, thanks!”
She disappears out of sight but my door cracks open and then closed as she makes her way into my room. A second later she’s boosting herself through the open attic entrance inside my walk-in closet via the dresser I’ve placed below it for this very reason.
“Hey,” she whispers as she tiptoes across the floor joists until she reaches the platform I’ve set up next to the vent leading into the game room. She lies down on the sleeping bag I’ve laid out. “What are they doing?”
“Playing video games.” We’re whispering, but luckily the games they like to play are pretty loud, so we don’t have to be very quiet. “He looks good in that Eagles jersey, doesn’t he?”
Chloe nods. “So cute.”
“I love baseball.”
“The Eagles play football, Everly.”
“Oh.” I pause. “Well, I’ve got plenty of time to learn about football. I’m only twelve. He’s not going to take me seriously until I’m at least sixteen.”
“Probably not,” Chloe agrees.
I flip open my notebook. It’s pink and says Dreams & Schemes on the front cover in gold cursive. It’s where I keep all of my Finn Camden notes. I draw pictures in it too. I’m getting pretty good. I add a note to remind myself to learn about the Eagles before flipping to the back. That’s where I practice writing Everly Camden. Mrs. Camden. Mrs. Finn Camden. I’m already really good at it, but practicing never hurt anybody.
We’re quiet then, watching Finn and Eric through the vent until Chloe speaks.
“My dad cancelled.”
“What? Why?” She was supposed to go to New York next week to visit him. Her parents divorced three years ago and she hardly ever sees her dad anymore.
“He said he had a business trip.” She shrugs, but I see the tears welling up in her eyes.
He’s so stupid.
“Well, he’s dumb and I have an even better idea,” I say, throwing an arm around her.
“What?” She wipes her eyes and composes herself. She doesn’t allow herself to get upset very often.
“I bet you can come with us to Hershey Park! I’m gonna ask my parents tonight. I know they’ll say yes.” They will too. Because my parents are the best. “We’ll go on all the rollercoasters. And then we’ll go on the fun slide even though we’re too old. And we’ll spend an entire day at the water park. Plus, I have forty dollars saved up and we will buy all the candy, Chloe. All of it.”
“Maybe,” she says, but she smiles. “What are you going to do this fall when Eric and Finn leave for college?” Chloe asks, done talking about her dad.
I sigh sadly. “Well, I’ve got my notebook,” I say, tapping it with my pen. “So I can study.” I stop speaking as the game silences in the room below us. Chloe and I crowd over the vent to watch as Eric and Finn toss the remotes on the ottoman and take off down the stairs. “Wait,” I say, holding up a finger. We listen until the fridge slams shut. “They’re getting a snack, let’s go.”
I drop through the attic entrance into my closet and immediately head to my vanity table to check my appearance. I’m not allowed to have makeup yet, so applying Bonne Bell lip smacker in strawberry and combing my hair will have to do.
Chloe and I stroll into the kitchen a minute later to find the guys loading pizza rolls into the oven.
“Oh, I didn’t know you guys were using the oven. We were gonna make cookies,” I announce. I even manage to look surprised to see them in the kitchen. Hey, I’m twelve, not six.
“No worries, Shortcake. We’ll be done with the oven in ten minutes.” Finn grins at me and I lose my focus for a second. He needs a haircut. His sandy brown hair is floppier than normal.