Summer Replacementby Ann Herrick
As a favor, Cathy eagerly agrees to pretend she is Dan's girlfriend for the summer when their families vacation at the same beach. With a background of sun, surf and sand, they develop a friendship that is on the verge of turning romantic, when who should arrive but Lisa Kendall, Dan's old girlfriend! In three days, Lisa ruins Cathy's relationship with Dan. In retaliation, Cathy feigns interest in Steve, Lisa's handsome older brother. But soon enough Cathy learns that a fake romance can get out of hand and pretending about her feelings leads to complications she never imagined.
- Hard Shell Word Factory
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 7.99(w) x 4.99(h) x 0.23(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
"I've got news for you, Cathy Price." Mom shook a finger at me. "We're spending the summer in Chatfield, and that's final." She tossed the tomatoes she'd been slicing into the lettuce. "It's a wonderful opportunity to get away from it all. Your brother is thrilled with the idea."
"Jason," I replied, "is only seven years old. He's easily thrilled." I didn't mention that Dan Stedman had finally given me a ride home on the last day of school, after I'd been sending him telepathic messages for weeks, or that after making that much progress, I didn't want to lose any ground over the summer.
Dad walked into the kitchen and snitched piece of tomato from the salad.
"Hi, Dad. Mom and I have just been talking." I slipped my arm through Dad's, ignoring the sidelong glance from Mom. "I have so many projects that I should really be working on this summer. Couldn't I just stay with Samantha? Or I could even stay right here and watch the house. That way I could feed Ralph." Ralph was our big, orange, affectionate but persnickety cat.
"Certainly not!" Dad sounded positively horrified. "You're only fifteen!"
"Almost sixteen," I reminded him. Sixteen sounded so much older than fifteen. Dad wasn't the only one I wanted to impress with how mature I was. I felt I needed every ounce of sophistication I could muster if I was going to get anywhere with Dan. After all, he had turned seventeen in May and would be a senior in the fall, not to mention editor of Scattered Leaves, our school newspaper. Even though I would be finally making it to upperclassdom as a junior, it was still embarrassing that I would not turn sixteen until October. Plus, myonly claim to fame so far was being a third-string reporter on the school paper. I considered myself lucky when Dan assigned me to interview the new school nurse.
"Samantha has promised to feed Ralph, and you're still too young to be on your own. When I decided not to teach any summer courses at the university this year it was because I wanted to spend time with my family." Dad looked wounded.
"Yes, John," Mom agreed. "And I could use a change of scenery before I have to face a room full of second graders again."
"Jason is all excited about going," said Dad, as if this bit of news would impress me.
"Okay, okay!" I was tired of being bombarded with arguments, especially when I knew I couldn't win anyway. "I'm sure we'll have a terrific time," I added sarcastically.
That night, after packing my suitcase, I called Samantha to say good-bye for the summer and tell her about the ride home with Dan. I took the phone into the hall closet for some privacy.
"Hi, Samantha. I've got some good news!"
"You don't have to go away for the summer."
"No. I could not get out of that." I took a deep breath. "I'm resigning myself to an awful summer--"
"Now, wait," said Samantha. "Just maybe you're jumping to conclusions. You do have a tendency to do that."
I ignored Samantha's remark. "My news is--" I paused for dramatic effect. " -- Dan Stedman gave me a ride home from school today!"
"At last! What about Lisa Kendall? Where was she?"
"Can you believe my luck? She left school early. She had a dentist appointment."
"How fortunate. For the past few weeks, I thought maybe she and Dan had been joined at the elbow."
"I know." I sighed. "Who needs to compete with a stunning redhead?" I pushed an umbrella out of my way and sat cross-legged on the floor. Ralph crawled out of a corner and rubbed against my knee and purred. "Anyway, there I was, just starting to walk home, trying to look as loaded down with the junk from my locker as possible, when who should pull out of the school parking lot but Dan."
"What did you do? Throw yourself in front of his car?"
"Nothing so drastic. I 'dropped' a bunch of my papers, and they started blowing around. Dan stopped his car, got out and helped me pick them up."
"How convenient! You're getting clever in your old age."
"Actually, he was very nice about it." I remembered the way his brown eyes crinkled when he laughed as he chased after the papers. I didn't think he was devastatingly handsome, but I like the way his mouth curled as if he was about to smile and how he walked, with sort of a graceful nonchalance. "After we had gathered everything up," I explained, "he offered me a ride."
"Well, how was the ride? What did you talk about?"
"Let's see." I closed my eyes to concentrate on every detail. "He said, 'You're name is Cathy, isn't it?' and I said, 'Yes.' He asked how I did on my finals, and I said, 'Fine.' Then he said, 'This is your house, isn't it?' and I said, 'Yes. Thanks for the ride.'"
"It was a short ride," I said. I felt myself turning red. "We both said 'Goodbye,'" I added defensively.
"Maybe what you ought to do is have yourself a summer fling to warm up for another attempt when school starts next fall."
"What do you mean?"
"You know. No one ever takes a summer romance seriously. You meet someone, you know you'll never see each other again, so you can flirt, have fun and not worry about making a fool of yourself, because you're never going to see him or any of the other summer people ever again."
"You mean I could practice my approach to Dan without having to worry about what the kids at school might think?"
"Samantha, you're brilliant. No wonder you're my best friend. I think I'll try it."
"Great. Have a nice summer."
"If I follow your suggestion, I'll have a fantastic summer."
Samantha laughed. "I hope so. See you in September."
"Right -- and thanks again for the great idea." After putting the phone back on the hall stand and shooing Ralph downstairs, I went to my room and stretched out on my bed. I thought about Samantha's idea, and the more I thought about it, the better I liked it. A summer romance could be the perfect rehearsal for the real thing in the fall with Dan. I could do it without the usual attentive audience consisting of the entire student body at school. I hugged myself and let out a small laugh at the thought.
Jason charged into my room in his usual heavy-footed fashion. "What's so funny?" he asked.
"Can't you remember to knock?" I glared at him. He stared back with his big, round, innocent-looking eyes. I'd always thought it was unfair that Jason had inherited Dad's blue eyes and Mom's golden-blond hair, while I'd somehow wound up with a mousy, washed-out version of Dad's chestnut-colored hair and a pale imitation of Mom's dark brown eyes.
Jason hopped up on my bed, ignoring my question. "Are you ready to leave tomorrow? I can't wait. I love to play in the water. Will you help me build a sand castle?"
"Yes, yes." I ticked Jason under his chin, hoping to shut him up. His endless questioning drove met nuts.
"Aaaaeee!" Jason snapped his chin down toward his chest and jumped off the bed. He stepped backward. "You can't reach me now!"
"I guess I can't." I knew that he wanted me to chase after him, but I wasn't in the mood. He was such a nuisance. I was about to order him to bed when Mom and Dad called him. "You know what they want," I said. "You'd better scoot."
Jason dashed out the door. He thumped all the way down the hall and into his room.
I undressed, got into my pink polka-dot shorty pajamas, and slipped under the covers. Through the window a silvery rectangle of moonlight spilled across my bed. I closed my eyes and pictured myself at the beach in Chatfield, "accidentally" bumping into some handsome boy, making clever small talk, suggesting a walk on a secluded part of the beach. We would hold hands, then find a sheltered spot to sit. I'd say something funny, and he would laugh, then I would lean my head on his shoulder and he would put his arm around me. I would look up at him, and he would tell me I was beautiful. Oh, yes... it would all be so easy with a summer boy.
I would start to say something, and he would place his fingers on my lips. Then he would put both his arms around me and pull me close and... .
"Wake up, wake up, wake up!" Jason tugged at my arm. The bed vibrated. I clutched the mattress so I wouldn't fall off. Jason smiled as he bounced on the bed. "It's time to get up," he announced. "It's time to get up!"
"No kidding." I gave Jason a mean look.
"Come on, come on. Get up!" Jason jiggled the bed.
"You're making me seasick."
That did it. Jason hopped off my bed.
"Get out of here now," I commanded. "I have to get dressed."
Jason raced out of the room.
After breakfast, I did my last-minute packing. I tucked my comb, toothbrush, and makeup into the corners of my suitcase, then picked up my swimsuit, which was sitting on top, and fingered it fondly. I liked the color, turquoise, and all the little tucks and folds actually made me look shapely.
Eventually, everyone finished packing and the car was loaded. As we pulled out of the driveway Jason started singing "Merrily We Roll Along" at the top of his lungs. Mom and Dad joined in, and I scrunched down in my seat, hoping no one I knew would see us. I closed my eyes and tried to remember that only yesterday I had been alone in a car with Dan Stedman.
After the boring ride down I-90, Dad turned onto the Connecticut Turnpike, and before long Jason was pointing out Exit 63. "We're in Chatfield!" he shouted. He leaned forward, sticking his arms into the front seat. "I got there before Cathy!"
"Big deal," I snapped.
From the exit we drove to Main Street, turned left and rode a couple more miles until we turned right at a sign proclaiming Beach Area.
"When we get to Bob's Beach Store, turn left." Mom read from her notes scribbled on the back of an envelope. "There! I think that's it straight ahead."
I spotted two boys in front of the store and, for a second, got remotely excited. But as I got a closer look, I realized they were only about twelve years old. Drat. Through the open door of Bob's I could see a row of red stools in front of a long shiny black counter. A neon pizza sign flashed in the front window. It looked like a place that might be worth investigating.
We continued along a tree-lined street where the houses were large and expensive looking. One even had a turret sticking up through the oak and maple trees surrounding it. I hoped we would be staying there -- the turret looked mysterious and romantic. But we rode on by. Abruptly, the scenery changed. The line of tree ended, and the houses gave way to cottages crowded onto narrow sandy yards.
"Our place should be here somewhere," said Dad.
I glanced around. To me it looked like the Mohave Desert, especially after just having ridden through that lush oasis with the luxurious houses.
"Look for number sixty-eight," said Mom
"There it is! There it is!" Jason pointed out the window to a white cottage bordered by a falling-down picket fence half-covered with roses. At first I thought the gate was open. Then I saw that there was no gate. All that remained were two rusty hinges where a gate had once hung.
Dad pulled into the parallel depressions in the sand that served as a driveway leading to the side of the cottage. "Look at that!" he exclaimed. "We're right on the beach."
I scanned the beach hoping for a likely romantic prospect, but all I saw were a mother with three small children wading at the edge of the water and an elderly couple, fully clothed, lying on a blanket.
"Let's get everything inside." Dad hopped out of the car and practically skipped on his way to unlock the cottage.
I grabbed my suitcase and lugged it inside. I hadn't expected much, so I guess I wasn't too disappointed when all I saw was a long narrow room in which a U-shaped counter set off the kitchen at one end, a table and four chairs served as the dining area in the middle of the room, and sheet-covered chairs and sofas at the far end formed the living room.
"Phew!" I fanned my hand in front of my face. "It's boiling hot -- and it smells in here!"
"It's just a bit musty from being closed up all winter," said Mom, who had come in right behind me. "We'll get all the windows open and let in some fresh air."
"That won't help," I muttered. I unlocked one of the windows and tried to open it. It didn't budge. I tried again, grunting with the effort. Still nothing. I hammered upward at it with the palms of my hands. It opened a crack. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead. The back of my blouse was damp. I groaned. "We'll suffocate in here."
"Maybe opening the windows is a job for your father," said Mom. She reached for her purse on the kitchen counter and pulled out the envelope with the scribbles and read from it. "Little's Store. It's across the street and six doors down." She handed me a pile of change. "I think that's enough to get some soda. Why don't you pick up a carton at Little's? We can do the rest of our shopping in town once we get settled in here."
"Okay." More than happy to escape the stuffy cottage I took the change and hurried out the door, gasping for air. A strong breeze blew in off the water. By the time I reached Little's, the sweat had evaporated off my face.
It didn't take long to find the store. A faded, peeling sign hung over the door of a skinny orange building with a pay phone next to the front steps. A gaggle of girls about ten years old was gathered around the phone. One girl giggled into the receiver. I checked my reflection in the glass of the phone booth. I wanted to look nice, just in case I spotted any good-looking boys. So far I hadn't seen any likely candidates, but I was going to keep my eyes wide open for possibilities.
Inside the store, narrow aisles were crowded with everything from beach balls and suntan lotion to potato chips and canned asparagus. I looked around for a cooler. I was desperate for a cold soda.
I noticed someone at the rear of the store stacking cereal boxes on a shelf. As I approached him I saw that, from the back, with his tall, broad-shouldered build and curly brown hair, he looked kind of like Dan Stedman.
"Excuse me." I cleared my throat. It was nice to have a ready-made excuse for talking to him. Maybe I could even find out his name. I tried out a flirtatious smile. "Do you have any cold soda?"
"In that far corner." The voice was familiar. The boy turned around as he pointed. He smiled broadly. "Well! Hi, Cathy."
My smile faded. A sea of red washed over my face.
It was Dan Stedman.
Copyright © 2004 by Ann Herrick
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The entertaining social angst of narrator Cathy provides lots of laughs, amid some real food for thought about the pitfalls of pretending about feelings, as Cathy sorts out her relationships with Dan and Steve. Her woes are humorously depicted, and particularly funny is the embarrassment suffered by Cathy at one of 'the world's last' drive-in movies. The humor is balanced with Ann Herrick's insight into the universal and realistic intensity of the characters' emotions.
This book has lots of laughs and is very realistic about the dangers of pretending about feelings, as Cathy figures out her relationships with two guys. The characters and their emotions are very real, and the story is fun and fast-paced.