Alice in Rapture, Sort Ofby Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
According to Pamela’s cousin in New Jersey, the worst thing that can happen to a girl is to start seventh grade without a boyfriend. So Alice is glad that she and Patrick are going together. But Patrick the boyfriend is a lot more complicated than Patrick the friend. What’s an appropriate gift for Alice to give him for his birthday? What should she do… See more details below
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According to Pamela’s cousin in New Jersey, the worst thing that can happen to a girl is to start seventh grade without a boyfriend. So Alice is glad that she and Patrick are going together. But Patrick the boyfriend is a lot more complicated than Patrick the friend. What’s an appropriate gift for Alice to give him for his birthday? What should she do if he wants to kiss her and she hasn’t just brushed her teeth?
Alice really likes Patrick, but sometimes it seems as though life would be a lot simpler if they were still just friends.
Meet the Author
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh and the Alice series. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.
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Alice in Rapture, Sort of
By Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Rebound by SagebrushCopyright © 1999 Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
All right reserved.
After breakfast, Dad went to work at the Melody Inn. It's one of a chain of music stores, and Dad's the manager of this one. Lester waited his 40 minutes, then went downstairs to work out. When he finally showered and left the house for his summer job selling Maytag washing machines, I curled up on the sofa and thought about summer.
"Are you sure you trust Patrick and me in the house together?" I'd asked Dad only the day before.
"Shouldn't I?" Dad had said.
Parents love to do that -- to answer a question with a question.
"I don't know," I told him.
"Well, if you feel uncomfortable, Al, you can always tell Patrick that I want the two of you out
on the porch," he said.
I didn't know about that, either. If I told Patrick that Dad didn't want us alone in the house, it would sound as though he suspected Patrick of all sorts of things Patrick had never even thought of yet.
I guess it was the Summer of the First Boyfriend, not just for me but for Pamela Jones, too. She's the one with the blond hair so long that she sits on it, and she was going with Mark Stedmeister. You should have seen the way they kissed over by the grade school where we all hung around after dinner. She's not supposed to kiss until she's sixteen, though. Pamela's mom said if she ever caughther kissing, she'd cut off her hair. I asked Dad what hair had to do with kissing, and he said he hadn't the slightest idea.
Elizabeth, who lives across the street from me -- beautiful Elizabeth with the thick, dark eyelashes -- didn't have a boyfriend yet, but she liked some guy from St. Joseph's. So we were all sort of on the roller coaster together, Pamela and Elizabeth and I.
The phone rang and my heart bounced -- the way you feel going down in an elevator. I knew it was Patrick. It had to be Patrick. He never calls in the afternoon because he's usually mowing lawns. In the morning, though, he's home waiting for the grass to dry.
The phone rang a second time.
Elizabeth says never answer the phone after the first ring because you'll sound too eager, and Pamela says if you wait for more than three rings, the boy will think you don't care. Pamela says that two-and-a-half rings are just about right.
I grabbed it after the second ring. It was Patrick.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Nothing much," I said. "What are you doing?"
"Talking to you," said Patrick. He always thinks of things like that to say.
I absolutely could not think of a single word to say next. The seconds ticked on. It was my turn! I had to think of something.
"Golda died," I blurted out finally.
"One of my guppies. The biggest one. I think she was pregnant again. I guess maybe I overfed her."
"Did you know that guppies give birth to live young?" Patrick asked me. "About fifty at a time?"
Patrick knows everything. He's lived in Spain and Germany and he can count to a hundred in Japanese and his family eats squid.
"Yes," I said. "I knew that." I'd been raising them, after all. I think he was a little surprised.
"Do you want me to come over?" Patrick asked.
"Do you want to?" I said.
"If you want me to," he answered.
"I guess we'd better sit out here," I said when I answered, and walked on over to the swing.
"How come?" asked Patrick.
"'Cause Dad and Lester aren't home," I told him.
"Oh," said Patrick.
We sat side by side there on the porch, pushing against the floor with our feet, listening to the creak of the chains on the hooks above. After a while Patrick reached over and put his hand over mine on the swing between us.
I was thinking about French kissing, which is kissing with your mouths open. Pamela had never done it but she read about it in a magazine. I was wondering how many times you had to brush your teeth first before you French-kiss. You probably had to start planning it early in the morning and be careful what you ate all day so your mouth wouldn't taste like onions or anything. I'll bet if Pamela's mother ever caught her French kissing, she'd cut off her head.
"What are you thinking?" Patrick asked finally.
I felt I was on the roller coaster again, starting up the long hill to the top.
"What are you thinking?" I asked him.
"About that book of your brother's we were looking at last time," he said.
My shoulders slumped with relief. "I'll get it," I said, and jumped up.
It was called Celebrity Yearbook, with high school photos of famous people. You had to guess who they were, and the answers were in the back of the book.
"You mean that's Johnny Carson?" Patrick would say, and I'd laugh. Then we'd come to another picture and try to guess.
"Woody Allen!" we'd say, and laugh again.
Inside, on my way to the bookcase, I passed the porch window and saw Patrick take a breath mint out of his pocket and pop it in his mouth.
I stopped dead still on the rug. He was going to kiss me! The minute I went out there with that book, Patrick would kiss me. I ran upstairs and brushed my teeth all over again. I gargled with Scope. Then I got Celebrity Yearbook and went back out to the swing, my heart pounding like a tom-tom.
I sat down by Patrick and opened the book on my lap. The roller coaster started to climb. Patrick put one arm around my shoulder and leaned over as if he was looking at the pictures. I could smell the spearmint on his breath. One minute I was looking at a picture of Bill Cosby when he was eighteen and the next minute I was looking at Patrick's nose.
The kiss. The second kiss of the summer. Patrick's lips were cool and he pressed them a little
harder against mine than he had the first time. He kept them there a little longer, too. I wondered if he was counting.
Then he sort of squeezed my shoulder with his and, the kiss was over, the roller coaster was gliding to a stop, and I figured that now we could relax and enjoy the book. There are just certain things you're supposed to do when you're going with someone, and I figured that Patrick kissed me first thing so we wouldn't have to worry about it all morning. I wondered how long you had to go with somebody before you stopped worrying. Before you stopped running inside to brush your teeth. Maybe by the time you were eighteen. The next time Lester brought Crystal Harkins over, I'd ask her.
Excerpted from Alice in Rapture, Sort of by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Copyright © 1999 by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Excerpted by permission.
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