Shadow on the Snow

Shadow on the Snow

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586590888
Publisher: Artesian Press
Publication date: 11/01/2000
Series: Standing Tall Mysteries Series
Pages: 49
Age Range: 9 - 13 Years

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Chapter One

"Every time I picture Jada I want to barf," I told Beth. "That perfect round face. That perfect blond hair. The big blue eyes. Those little red lips that always seem to be sneering at me. Yuck."

Beth laughed. "Selena, when is the last time you saw your cousin?"

I had to think. "I guess it was six years ago."

Beth's dark eyes flashed. "So you were both six'right?"

I nodded."And now you're twelve," Beth continued.

I snickered. "You always were a math genius. How did you do that without a calculator?"

"Ha-ha." Beth rolled her eyes. She is my best friend, but she never laughs at my jokes.

We were up in my room, discussing my cousin Jada. The suitcase was open on my bed. I was supposed to be packing. But I didn't feel like it. I really didn't want to go stay with Jada for a month.

Beth pulled the red scrunchie from her wavy brown hair and let her hair fall over her shoulders. She sat on the floor with her knees pulled up, and rested her elbows on her knees.

"Your cousin has probably changed in six years," she said.

"She probably got meaner," I muttered. "I'll bet she grew claws, and her parents had to get her a scratching post."

Beth didn't laugh.

I could hear Mom slamming cabinet doors in the kitchen. Mom never closes doors. She always slams them. I tell her she doesn't know her own strength. But I think it's because she's always in such a hurry.

She is a phone company supervisor. She works all night. So she doesn't have much time to waste during the day.

I knew she'd come upstairs soon and get on my case about packing for my trip.

Beth sighed. She sprawled backon the white shag rug. "I don't understand, Selena. Jada was only six when you saw her last. So how mean could she be?"

"Pretty mean," I said. "She cut off one of my pigtails when I was sleeping. Then she told Mom that she saw me do it. Is that mean enough?"

Beth nodded. "Pretty mean. Did your mom figure out the truth?"

I shook my head. "Mom was too upset. Too busy trying to think of how to fix my hair."

"What happened?"

"Mom got me a really short haircut. Like a boy's. I cried for weeks about it. Jada thought it was so funny. She laughed at me and tapped my head with her fist whenever Mom wasn't looking."

"That's awful," Beth agreed.

"Oh. I just remembered something else," I said. "Jada called me Moo Cow."

Beth's mouth dropped open. "Excuse me?"

"She called me Moo Cow all the time. It made me so angry. �Moo Cow, let's do this' and �Moo Cow, let's do that.'"

Beth frowned at me. "I don't get it. Why Moo Cow?"

I shrugged. "I'm not sure. I guess it was because she was so skinny and I was so much bigger, I looked like a cow to her."

"Nice," Beth muttered. "Well, you're thin now, Selena. She won't be able to call you that anymore. And maybe she blimped up in six years."

"No way," I said sadly. "I saw her Christmas photo. She looks like a broom with blond hair."

"Well, she's probably a lot nicer," Beth said, climbing to her feet. "She emailed you, right?"

I nodded. "Yeah. She said she couldn't wait for me to get there. But she spelled my name with two Ls. That couldn't be a mistake, Beth. That had to be deliberate."

"Well...I'm going to miss you," Beth said. "Who else is going to make me laugh?"

Laugh? I'd never seen Beth laugh once! What was she talking about?

It didn't matter. Before I knew it, we were hugging each other, and I had tears burning my eyes. "I'll email you five times a day," I said.

Beth dropped onto the edge of my bed. "I still don't understand why you have to go for a whole month," she said. "It's April. School will almost be over when you get back."

"I have to go to Jada's school," I sighed.

"But why?" Beth asked.

I shrugged. "Mom is being totally weird about it. She says my cousin needs me."Beth sat up straight. "Huh? Is Jada sick or something?"

"Beats me," I said. "Mom won't say. She just says we need a vacation from each other anyway."

"Totally weird," Beth muttered.

Mom's shout from downstairs broke into our conversation. "Hey, girls'how is the packing going up there?"

I stared at the empty suitcase. "Fine," I called down. "Almost finished."

The bus was already boarding the next morning when Mom and I arrived. We ran through the crowded station. Mom carried one of my bags. I carried the other. My bulging backpack bounced on my shoulders.

It had rained all morning, and the concrete floor was slippery and wet. Two little girls were crying beside the ticket booth. A young man with long, greasy hair sat playing a guitar on the floor.

Mom and I stopped by the gate. She dropped the suitcase beside me and handed me my ticket.

I bit my bottom lip to keep my chin from trembling. I hadn't expected to be this nervous. I guess it was because Mom and I are so close. We used to fight a lot. But ever since Dad died, we haven't had a cross word between us.

I turned to Mom. "I'll call you as soon as I get to Aunt Janet's," I said.

She nodded. "Yes. Tell my sister I'm sorry I can't be there." She took a deep breath. "I...I wrote you a letter."

"A letter?"

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