We can stop at BookBarn on the way back, Mom says, as if to entice me. BookBarn is a giant, dusty old used-book store. In the back they keep a stash of twenty-five-cent classical records that nobody ever seems to buy except me. I keep a pile of them hidden under my bed. A collection of classical records is not the kind of thing you advertise.
Ive shown them to Adam, but that was only after wed already been together for five months. Id expected him to laugh. Hes such the cool guy with his pegged jeans and black low-tops, his effortlessly beat-up punk-rock tees and his subtle tattoos. He is so not the kind of guy to end up with someone like me. Which was why when Id first spotted him watching me at the music studios at school two years ago, Id been convinced he was making fun of me and Id hidden from him. Anyhow, he hadnt laughed. It turned out he had a dusty collection of punk-rock records under his bed. We can also stop by Gran and Gramps for an early dinner, Dad says, already reaching for the phone. Well have you back in plenty of time to get to Portland, he adds as he dials.
Im in, I say. It isnt the lure of BookBarn, or the fact that Adam is on tour, or that my best friend, Kim, is busy doing yearbook stuff. It isnt even that my cello is at school or that I could stay home and watch TV or sleep. Id actually rather go off with my family. This is another thing you dont advertise about yourself, but Adam gets that, too.
Teddy, Dad calls. Get dressed. Were going on an adventure.
Teddy finishes off his drum solo with a crash of cymbals. A moment later hes bounding into the kitchen fully dressed, as if hed pulled on his clothes while careening down the steep wooden staircase of our drafty Victorian house. Schools out for summer . . . he sings.
Alice Cooper? Dad asks. Have we no standards? At least sing the Ramones. Schools out forever, Teddy sings over Dads protests.
Ever the optimist, I say.
Mom laughs. She puts a plate of slightly charred pancakes down on the kitchen table. Eat up, family.
Excerpted from If I Stay by Gayle Forman Copyright © 2009 by Gayle Forman . Excerpted by permission of Penguin Group USA. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher
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