She went back to her room as her old summer dissolved and her new one dawned all around her. She was going to go. It felt good to be going someplace.
" So guess what?"
This was a phrase from Bee that always made Lena sit up and listen. "What?"
"I'm going away. Tomorrow."
"You're going away tomorrow?" Lena repeated dumbly.
"To Alabama," Bee said.
"You're kidding me." Lena was only saying that. It was Bee, so Lena knew she wasn't kidding.
"I'm going to see my grandmother. She sent me some letters," Bee explained.
"When?" Lena asked.
"Well ... actually ... rive years ago. That's when the first one came."
Lena was stunned not to have known this.
"I just found the,,,. My dad never gave them to me." Bee didn't sound mad. She stated it as a fact.
"He blames Greta for all kinds of stuff. He told her not to contact us. He was annoyed that she tried."
Lena had so little optimism where Bee's dad was concerned that this did not shock her.
"For how long, do you think?" she asked.
"I don't know. A month. Maybe two." She paused. "I asked Perry if he wanted to come with me. He read the letters, but he said no."
Lena didn't find that surprising either. Perry had been a sweet kid, but he'd grown into a reclusive teenager.
Lena felt alarmed at this change in plans. They were supposed to get jobs together. They were supposed to hang out all summer. But at the same time she felt oddly comforted by the impulsiveness. It was something the old Bee would do.
"I'll miss you." Lena's voice wobbled a little. She felt weirdly teary. It was natural that she would miss Bee. But Lena usually registered that something was sad before she felt it. Now the order was reversed. It took her by surprise.
"Lenny, III miss you," Bee said quickly, tenderly, as startled as Lena was by the ready emotion in Lena's voice.
Bee had changed so much in the last year, but a few things had stayed the same. Most people, including Lena herself, backed away when they sensed some out-of-control emotion. Bee went right out to meet it. Right now, that was a thing Lena loved.
Tibby was leaving the next day, and she hadn't finished packing or begun shopping for their biannual break-and-enter at Gilda' s. She was madly packing when Bridget appeared.
Bridget sat atop Tibby's bureau and watched her throw the entire contents of her desk on the floor. She couldn't find her printer cable.
"Try the closet," Bridget suggested.
"It's not there," Tibby answered gruffly. She couldn't open her closet because it was jammed with things she could neither keep nor throw away (like her old guinea pig's
cage). Tibby feared that if she even cracked open the door, the whole mountain would tumble and crush her to death.
"I bet Nicky took it," Tibby muttered. Nicky was her three-year-old brother. He took her stuff and broke her stuff, usually the moment before she really needed it.
Bee didn't say anything. She was being awfully quiet. Tibby turned to look at her.
If a person hadn't seen Bee in a year, they might not have recognized her sitting there. She wasn't blond and she wasn't thin and she wasn't moving. She had tried to dye her hair really dark, but the dye she'd used had barely conquered the famous yellow struggling underneath. Bee was normally so thin and muscled that the fifteen or so pounds she'd gained over the winter and spring sat heavily and obviously on her arms and legs and torso. It almost looked like her body wasn't willing to incorporate the extra fat. It Just let it sit there, right on the surface, hoping it would go away soon. Tibby couldn't help thinking that what Bee's mind wanted and what her body wanted were two different things.
I may have lost her," Bee said solemnly.
Excerpted from The Second Summer of the Sisterhood byAnn Brashares Copyright© 2003 by Ann Brashares. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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