Full Read the Online Chapter 2 of Its Not Summer Without You Novel by Jenny Han for free.
It used to be that the week school let out in June, we’d pack up the car and head straight to Cousins. My mother would go to Costco the day before and buy jugs of apple juice and economy-size boxes of granola bars, sunscreen, and whole grain cereal. When I begged for Lucky Charms or Cap’n Crunch, my mother would say, “Beck will have plenty of cereal that’ll rot your teeth out, don’t you worry.”
Of course, she’d be right. Susannah—Beck to my mother—loved her kid cereal, just like me. We went through a lot of cereal at the summer house. It never even had a chance to go stale. There was one summer when the boys ate cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My brother, Steven, was Frosted Flakes, Jeremiah was Cap’n Crunch, and Conrad was Corn Pops. Jeremiah and Conrad were Beck’s boys, and they loved their cereal. Me, I ate whatever was left over with sugar on top.
I’d been going to Cousins my whole life. We’d never skipped a summer, not once. Almost seventeen years of me playing catch-up to the boys, of hoping and wishing that one day I would be old enough to be a part of their crew.
The summer boys crew. I finally made it, and now it was too late. In the pool, on the last night of the last summer, we said we’d always come back. It’s scary how easily promises were broken. Just like that.
When I got home last summer, I waited. August turned into September, school started, and still I waited. It wasn’t like Conrad and I had made any declarations. It wasn’t like he was my boyfriend. All we’d done was kiss. He was going to college, where there would be a million other girls. Girls without curfews, girls on his hal, all smarter and prettier than me, all mysterious and brand-new in a way that I could never be.
I thought about him constantly—what it all meant, what we were to each other now. Because we couldn’t go back. I knew I couldn’t. What happened between us—between me and Conrad, between me and Jeremiah—it changed everything. And so when August and September began and still the phone didn’t ring, all I had to do was think back to the way he’d looked at me that last night, and I knew there was still hope. I knew that I hadn’t imagined it all. I couldn’t have.
According to my mother, Conrad was all moved into his dorm room, he had an annoying roommate from New Jersey, and Susannah worried he wasn’t getting enough to eat. My mother told me these things casually,
offhandedly, so as not to injure my pride. I never pressed her for more information. The thing is, I knew he’d call. I knew it. All I had to do was wait.
The call came the second week of September, three weeks since the last time I’d seen him. I was eating strawberry ice cream in the living room, and Steven and I were fighting over the remote control. It was a Monday night, nine p.m., prime TV-watching time. The phone rang, and neither Steven nor I made a move to grab it. Whoever got up would lose the battle for the TV.
My mother picked it up in her office. She brought the phone into the living room and she said, “Bel y, it’s for you. It’s Conrad.” Then she winked.
Everything in me went abuzz. I could hear the ocean in my ears. The rush, the roar in my eardrums. It was like a high. It was golden. I had waited, and this was my reward! Being right, being patient, never felt so good.
Steven was the one to break me out of my reverie. Frowning, he said, “Why would Conrad be calling you?”
I ignored him and took the phone from my mother. I walked away from Steven, from the remote, from my melting dish of ice cream. None of it mattered.
“I made Conrad wait until I was on the staircase before I said anything. Taking a seat on the steps, I greeted him with a casual ‘Hey.’ Suppressing a smile, I knew he would detect it in my voice through the phone.”
“Hey,” he said. “What’s up?” “Nothing much.”
“So guess what,” he said. “My roommate snores even louder than you do.”
He called again the next night, and the night after. We talked for hours at a time. When the phone rang, and it was for me and not Steven, he’d been confused at first. “Why does Conrad keep calling you?” he’d demanded.
“Why do you think? He likes me. We like each other.”
Steven had nearly gagged. “He’s lost his mind,” he said, shaking his head.
“Is it so impossible that Conrad Fisher would like me?” I asked him, crossing my arms defiantly.
He didn’t even have to think about his answer. “Yes,” he said. “It is so impossible.”
And honestly, it was.
It was like a dream. Unreal. After all that pining and longing and wishing, years and years of it, whole summers’ worth, he was calling me. He liked talking to me. I made him laugh even when he didn’t want to. I understood what he was going through because I was sort of going through it too.
There were only a few people in the world who loved Susannah the way we did. I thought that would be enough.
We became something. Something that was never exactly defined, but it was something. It was really something.
A few times, he drove the three-and-a-half hours from school to my house.
Once, he spent the night because it got so late my mother didn’t want him to drive back. Conrad stayed in the guest room, and I lay in my bed awake for hours, thinking about how he was asleep just a few feet away, in my house of al places.
If Steven hadn’t hung around us like some kind of disease, I know Conrad would have at least tried to kiss me. But with my brother around it was pretty much impossible. Conrad and I would be watching TV, and Steven would plop right down between us. He’d talk to Conrad about stuff I didn’t know or care about, like football. One time, after dinner, I asked Conrad if he wanted to go get frozen custard at Brusters, and Steven chimed right in and said, “Sounds good to me.” I glared at him, but he just grinned back at me. And then Conrad took my hand, right in front of Steven, and he said, “Let’s all go.” So we all went, my mother too. I couldn’t believe I was going on dates with my mother and my brother in the backseat.
But really, it all just made that one amazing night in December all the sweeter.
Conrad and I went back to Cousins, just the two of us. Perfect nights come so rarely, but that one was. Perfect, I mean. It was the kind of night worth waiting for. I’m glad we had that night. Because by May, it was all over.
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