Its Not Summer Without You Chapter 17 Free Read Online

Full Read the Online Chapter 17 of Its Not Summer Without You Book PDF by Jenny Han for free.

Its Not Summer Without You Chapter 17: We drove through town, by all the old places, the mini golf course, the crab shack, and Jeremiah drove as fast he could, whistling. I wished he would slow down, and make the drive last forever. But it wouldn’t, of course. We were almost there.

I reached into my bag and pulled out a little pot of lip gloss. I dabbed some gloss on my lips and yanked my fingers through my hair. It was all tangled because we’d had the windows down, and it was a mess. In my peripheral vision, I could feel Jeremiah’s eyes on me. He was probably shaking his head and thinking what a dumb girl I was. I wanted to tell him, I know, I am a dumb girl. I’m no better than Taylor. But I couldn’t just walk in and face Conrad with ratty hair.

When I saw his car in the driveway, I could feel my heart constrict. He was in there. Like a shot, Jeremiah was out of the car and bounding toward the house.

He took the stairs two at a time, and I trailed after him.

It was strange; the house still smelled the same. For some reason, I hadn’t been expecting that. Maybe with Susannah gone, I’d thought it would all feel different.

But it didn’t. I almost expected to see her floating around in one of her housedresses, waiting for us in the kitchen.

Conrad actually had the nerve to look annoyed when he saw us. He’d just come in from surfing; his hair was wet and he still had his suit on. I felt dazed— even though it had only been two months, it was like seeing a ghost. The ghost of first love past. His eyes flickered on me for about one second before rounding on Jeremiah. “What the hell are you doing here?” he asked him.

“I’m here to pick you up and take you back to school,” Jeremiah said, and I could tell he was working hard to sound relaxed, and laid-back. “You really messed up, man. Dad’s going out of his mind.”

Conrad waved him off. “Tel him to go screw himself. I’m staying.”

“Con, you missed two classes and you’ve got midterms on Monday. You can’t just bail. They’ll kick you out of summer school.”

“That’s my problem. And what’s she doing here?” He didn’t look at me when he said it, and it was like he’d stabbed me in the chest.

I started to back away from them, toward the glass sliding doors. It was hard to breathe.

“I brought her with me to help,” Jeremiah said. He looked over at me and then took a breath. “Look, we’ve got all your books and everything. You can study tonight and tomorrow and then we can head back to school.”

“Screw it. I don’t care,” Conrad said, walking over to the sofa. He peeled off the top of his wetsuit. His shoulders were already getting tan. He sat down on the sofa, even though he was still wet.

“What’s your problem?” Jeremiah asked him, his voice just barely even.

“Right now, this is my problem. You and her. Here.” For the first time since we’d arrived, Conrad looked me in the eyes. “Why do you want to help me? Why are you even here?”

I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Just like always, he could devastate me with a look, or a word.

Patiently, he waited for me to say something, and when I didn’t, he did.

“I thought you never wanted to see me again. You hate me, remember?” His tone was sarcastic, and belittling.

I said, “I don’t hate you,” and I sprinted off. I opened the sliding door and went out onto the porch. As I hurried to the shore from the bottom of the steps, I shut the door behind me.

I just needed to be on the beach. The beach would make me feel better.

Nothing, nothing felt better than the way sand felt beneath my feet. It was both solid and shifting, constant and ever-changing. It was summer.

I sat in the sand and I watched the waves run to shore and then spread out thin like white icing on a cookie. It had been a mistake to come here.

Nothing I could say or do would erase the past. The way he’d said “her,” with such disdain. He didn’t even call me by my name.

After a while, I headed back to the house. Jeremiah was in the kitchen by himself. Conrad was nowhere in sight.

“Well, that went well,” he said. “I never should have come.”

Jeremiah ignored me. “Ten to one the only thing he has in the fridge is beer,”

he said. “Any takers?”

He was trying to make me laugh, but I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. “Only an idiot would take that bet.” I bit my lip. I didn’t want to cry.

“Don’t let him get to you,” Jeremiah said. He pulled on my ponytail and wound it around his wrist like a snake.

“I can’t help it.” The way he’d looked at me—like I meant nothing to him, less than nothing.

“He’s an idiot; he doesn’t mean anything he says,” Jeremiah said. He nudged me. “Are you sorry you came?”


Jeremiah smiled at me crookedly. “Well, I’m not. I’m glad you came. I’m glad I’m not dealing with his BS on my own.”

Because he was trying, I tried too. I opened up the fridge like I was one of those women from The Price Is Right, the women who wore evening gowns and jeweled heels.

“Ta-da,” I said. He was right, the only thing inside were two cases of Icehouse.

Susannah would’ve flipped if she could have seen what had become of her Sub-Zero fridge. “What are we going to do?” I asked him.

He looked out the window, to the beach. “We’re probably going to have to stay here tonight. I’ll work on him; he’ll come. I just need some time.” He paused.

“So how about this? Why don’t you go grab some food for dinner, and I’ll stay here and talk to Con.”

I knew Jeremiah was trying to get rid of me, and I was glad. I needed to get out of that house, away from Conrad. “Clam rol s for dinner?” I asked him.

Jeremiah nodded and I could tell he was relieved. “Sounds good. Whatever you want.” He started to pull out his wallet, but I stopped him.

“It’s okay.”

He shook his head. “I don’t want you to use your money,” he said, handing me two creased twenties and his keys. “You already came all this way to help.”

“I wanted to.”

“Because you’re a good person and you wanted to help Con,” he said.

“I wanted to help you, too,” I told him. “I meant, I still do. You shouldn’t have to deal with this on your own.”

For one brief moment, he didn’t look like himself. He looked like his father.

“Who else will ?” And then he smiled at me, and he was Jeremiah again. Susannah’s boy, sunshine, and smiles. Her little angel.

I learned to drive stick on Jeremiah’s car. It felt good to be in the driver’s seat again. Instead of turning on the AC, I rolled down the windows and let the salty air in. I drove into town slowly, and I parked the car by the old Baptist church.

There were kids running around in bathing suits and shorts, and also parents in khaki, and golden retrievers without leashes. It was probably the first weekend since school let out, for most of them. There was just that feeling in the air. I smiled when I saw a boy trailing after two older girls, probably his sisters. “Wait up,” he yelled, his flip flops slapping along the pavement. They just walked faster, not looking back.

My first stop was the general store. I used to spend hours in there, mulling over the penny candy. Each choice seemed vitally important. The boys would dump candy in haphazardly, a scoop of this, a handful of that. But I was careful, ten big Swedish Fish, five malt balls, a medium-size scoop of pear Jelly Bellys. For old times’ sake, I filed a bag. I put in Goobers for Jeremiah, a Clark Bar for Conrad, and even though he wasn’t here, a Lemonhead for Steven. It was a candy memorial, a tribute to the Cousins of our childhood when picking penny candy was the biggest and best part of our day.

I was standing in line waiting to pay when I heard someone say, “Bel y?”

I turned around. It was Maureen O’Riley, who owned the fancy hat shop in town—Maureen’s Millinery. She was older than my parents, in her late fifties, and she was friendly with my mother and Susannah. She took her hats very seriously.

We hugged, and she smelled the same, like Murphy Oil Soap. “How’s your mother? How’s Susannah?” she asked me.

“My mother’s fine,” I told her. I moved up in line, away from Maureen.

She moved up with me. “And Susannah?”

I cleared my throat. “Her cancer came back, and she passed away.”

Maureen’s tan face wrinkled up in alarm. “I hadn’t heard. I’m sorry to hear that. I was very fond of her. When?”

“Beginning of May,” I said. It was almost my turn to pay, and then I could leave and this conversation would be over.

Then Maureen clasped my hand, and my first impulse was to snatch it away, even though I’d always liked Maureen. I just didn’t want to stand in the general store, talking about Susannah being dead like it was town gossip. We were talking about Susannah here.

She must have sensed it because she let go. She said, “I wish I’d known. Please send my condolences to the boys and your mother. And Bel y, come by the store and see me some time. We’ll get you fitted for a hat. I think it’s time you had one, something with a trim.”

“I’ve never worn a hat,” I said, fumbling for my wallet.

“It’s time,” Maureen said again. “Something to set you off. Come by, I’ll take care of you. A present.”

After, I walked through town slowly, stopping at the bookstore and the surf shop. I walked aimlessly, dipping my hand into the candy bag on occasion. I didn’t want to run into anybody else but I was in no hurry to get back to the house. It was obvious Conrad didn’t want me around. Was I making things worse? The way he’d looked at me … it was harder than I’d thought it was going to be, seeing him again. Being in that house again. A million times harder.

When I got back to the house with the rolls in a greasy paper bag, Jeremiah and Conrad were drinking beer out on the back deck. The sun was setting. It was going to be a beautiful sunset.

I threw the keys and the bag down on the table and fell onto a lounge chair.

“Pass me a beer,” I said. It wasn’t because I particularly liked beer. I didn’t. It was because I wanted to be a part of them, the way having a few beers out back had brought them together in some small way. Just like the old days, all I wanted was to be included.

I expected Conrad to glare at me and tell me no, he would not be passing me any beer. When he didn’t, I was surprised and disappointed. Jeremiah reached into the cooler and threw me an Icehouse. He winked at me. “Since when does our Bel y Button drink?” he said.

“I’m almost seventeen,” I reminded him. “Don’t you think I’m too old for you to call me that?”

“I know how old you are,” Jeremiah said.

Conrad reached into the paper bag and pulled out a sandwich. He bit into it hungrily, and I wondered if he had eaten anything all day.

“You’re welcome,” I told him. I couldn’t help myself. He hadn’t looked my way once since I got back. I wanted to make him acknowledge me.

He grunted thanks, and Jeremiah shot me a warning look. Like, Don’t piss him off just when things are good.

Jeremiah’s phone buzzed on the table, and he didn’t move to pick it up. Conrad said, “I’m not leaving this house. Tell him that.”

My head jerked up. What did that mean, he wasn’t leaving? Like, ever? I stared hard at Conrad, but his face was as impassive as ever.

Jeremiah stood up, picked up the phone, and walked back into the house. He closed the sliding door behind him. For the first time, Conrad and I were left to ourselves. The air between us felt heavy, and I wondered if he was sorry for what he’d said earlier. I wondered if I should say something, or try and fix things. But what would I say? I didn’t know if there was anything I could say.

So I didn’t try. Instead, I let the moment pass and I just sighed and leaned back onto my chair. The sky was pinky gold. I thought this sunset rivaled the magnificence of anything in the world 10 times over, that there was nothing more beautiful than this. All the stress from the day was dissipating far out to sea, I could sense. In case I didn’t get the chance to return, I wanted to memorize everything. You never know when you’ll see a location for the last time. an individual.

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