After all Stephanie and Diana have gone through, their seasons may be coming to an end.
Read an Excerpt
Season of Change
By Lisa Williams Kline
ZONDERKIDZCopyright © 2013Lisa Williams Kline
All rights reserved.
I leaned up against Commanche's warm, solid shoulder, rubbing my palms over his leg. His foot was soaking in a bucket of warm water with Epsom salts. He kept kicking at the bucket, trying to pull his foot out. He nickered with annoyance.
"Keep his foot in there!" Josie yelled from another stall. "Twenty minutes!"
I leaned my weight more heavily against Commanche's leg, talking to him soothingly. "It's okay, old boy. Not too much longer." Commanche had gone lame, and the farrier had come today. He'd taken off Commanche's shoe, and drained an abscess. Now we had to soak his foot every day for ten days. And no riding him.
Commanche tossed his head and blew air through his nose. Kicked over the bucket, knocking me right on my butt in the wet straw.
That night, while we were brushing our teeth, I was trying to tell Stephanie about it. "So, anyway, I can't ride him for ten days, and ..."
"Shhh, listen!" Stephanie said. She put down her hairbrush, and touched my arm. I stopped brushing my teeth. We stared at each other in the bathroom mirror, both in our pj's, listening.
When Mom and Norm want to talk about something in private, they go in their bathroom and shut the door. What they don't know is that we can hear every word straight through the pipes that lead up to our bathroom.
"I can't take off work." Norm's voice, louder than usual, came through.
"It's on the weekend. You only have to take one day, Friday." Mom's voice sounded pinched and tight. Like when she was disappointed in me.
"I don't see why we need marriage counseling."
Stephanie gave me a shocked look.
"I just think we have a lot on our plates, like learning to parent each other's daughters. I know I could use some help. And I think you could too."
"Are you still mad I didn't go to Florida to watch Stephanie's cheerleading competition?" Norm asked.
After a minute, Mom answered. "I think one of her parents should have been there to cheer her on."'
"You were there!" Norm said loudly.
Stephanie blinked and looked away from my face in the mirror.
"Were you mad about that?" I whispered.
She shrugged, not meeting my eyes. "I was fine. I love Lynn."
"I don't understand anything about cheerleading," Norm complained.
"You should learn." I was surprised how harsh Mom's voice sounded.
"I can't believe you're still giving me such a hard time about this!"
"I'm still mad about it!" Mom's voice reverberated through the pipes. "She's chosen to live with us rather than with her mother, which was a really tough decision. And I needed you with me when I had to deal with her father. You know how Diana is, and then add Steven to the mix. I needed you and you weren't there for me."
"I'm there for you!" Norm bellowed.
Stephanie looked at me again. "I don't want to listen to this anymore." She turned and left the bathroom.
Neither did I. "You know how Diana is?" What's that supposed to mean? I know that Mom gets nervous when I'm with Dad. He takes me to do fun stuff that Mom thinks is dangerous, like parasailing. And yes, sometimes he forgets things, like I have to eat. And yes, sometimes he has a few beers and then drives, or loses his temper and yells.
Me going with him over spring break probably gave Mom hives from freaking out, but it had worked because Stephanie had a cheerleading competition in Orlando at the same time. So Mom, Stephanie and I went to Florida for a week but Norm stayed home.
Maybe Norm couldn't go because of work. Or maybe he didn't want to watch some cheerleading competition. I didn't want to go, either, but Stephanie's squad ended up performing right in Disneyworld on the Indiana Jones stage. It had turned out to be pretty cool. Plus, I'd been looking forward to seeing Dad, and things went really well with him for a change. I had alone time with Mom, so I was glad Norm hadn't gone. I didn't want to think about any of it anymore. I finished brushing my teeth, letting my thoughts float back to Commanche.
I headed down the hall toward my room, passing Stephanie's. Above her bed hung a bulletin board plastered with pictures of her friends in their cheerleading uniforms. "Anyway," I said, leaning against her doorjamb, "I can't believe it's summer and I finally have more time to ride Commanche and now I can't ride him!"
Stephanie didn't answer. Then I noticed she was curled on her bed, facing away from the doorway.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
She sat up and wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand, staring at me with a shocked look on her face. "Didn't you just hear the same fight I heard? Aren't you upset? What if they get a divorce, Diana?"
"I didn't think it was that bad," I said, sitting down at the foot of her bed. "Mom and Dad's were way worse."
She rubbed her fingers over her eyes. "Mama and Daddy used to fight a lot and then when they stopped, they just gave each other the silent treatment and I hated that even more."
"Mom and my dad fought twenty-four seven," I said. "At night I used to put my pillow over my head. So, what's the big deal?"
"I just guess I was dreaming," Stephanie said, "thinking that everything between Lynn and Daddy was going to be perfect forever. Nothing is perfect. But when I think about the wedding two years ago, and being the junior bridesmaids, everything seemed so great. And with all the things that have happened, they've always seemed to be really in love." Stephanie pulled her hair back, as if starting to put it into a ponytail, then let it fall back down on her shoulders again. Her hair always looked good. "Do you think they've fallen out of love?" Her eyes looked really scared.
"No!" My heart beat hard a few times. "You're way overreacting, Steph. Relax."
I hadn't wanted Mom to marry Norm. I'd talked back to him, shouted at him, disobeyed him, and treated him as mean as I could. I'd been mean to Stephanie too. And now, well, maybe it would go back to being just me and Mom again. So what? Wasn't that exactly what I'd wanted?CHAPTER 2
I couldn't sleep that night. Daddy and Lynn fighting made me feel sick to my stomach. It brought back all kinds of bad memories.
A bunch of people I knew had gone to the beach to celebrate the beginning of summer, so for a while, I texted them back and forth. My phone lit up the darkness of my room.
I got up, went into the bonus room and turned the DVR on low. I watched some TV and painted my toenails the brightest pink I could find.
I couldn't believe Daddy and Lynn were fighting! After Diana and I had been through so much to try to understand each other and get along.
I mean, I'd been counting the days till this summer. I started my first summer job, teaching tumbling and gymnastics to little kids at the Gym Zone. The kids seemed so sweet. I loved it.
Diana just got her license, so she was supposed to help drive me to work. Her driving practically gave me a heart attack, but it was so cool to have our own transportation and our own jobs. She had a job, too—at a fast food place called Cosmic Burgers, where she had to skate out to the cars balancing their orders on a tray.
I hoped Diana and I would keep getting along this summer. I still felt guilty about what had happened to Diana; I'd told my friend Colleen she liked animals better than people and then everyone started calling her "annn-i-mal." Diana said she understood I didn't do it on purpose and she forgave me. She'd even helped me try to get along with my stepbrother Matt.
Excerpted from Season of Change by Lisa Williams Kline. Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Williams Kline. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERKIDZ.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >