The summer I turned pretty Jenny Han Chapter 19 Read Online

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The summer I turned pretty Chapter 19: We’d only just gotten there, and it was already time for Steven to go. He and our dad were going on their college road trip, and instead of coming back to Cousins after, he was going home.

He is supposed to start studying for the SATs, but more likely, to hang out with his new girlfriend.

I went to his room to watch him pack up. He hadn’t brought much, just a duffel bag. I was suddenly sad to see him leave. Without Steven everything would be off balance–he was the buffer, the real-life reminder that nothing really changes, that everything can stay the same. Because Steven never changed.

He was just obnoxious, insufferable Steven, my big brother, the bane of my existence. He was like our old flannel blanket that smelled like a wet dog–smelly, comforting, a part of the infrastructure that made up my world. And with him there, everything would still be the same, three against one, boys against girls.

“I wish you weren’t leaving,” I said, tucking my knees into my chest. “I’ll see you in a month,” he reminded me.

“A month and a half,” I corrected him sullenly. “You’re missing my birthday, you know.”

“I’ll give you your present when I see you at home.”

“Not the same.” I knew I was being a baby, but I couldn’t help it. “Will you at least send me a postcard?”

Steven zipped up his duffel bag. “I doubt I’ll have time. I’ll send you a text, though.”

“Will you bring me back a Princeton sweatshirt?” I couldn’t wait to wear a college sweatshirt. They were like a badge that said you were mature, practically college-age if not already. I wished I had a whole drawer full of them.

“If I remember,” he said.

“I’ll remind you,” I said. “I’ll text you.” “Okay. It’ll be your birthday present.”

“Deal.” I fell back onto his bed and pushed my feet up against his wall. He hated it when I did that. “I’ll probably miss you, a little bit.”

“You’ll be too busy drooling over Conrad to notice I’m gone,” Steven said. I stuck my tongue out at him.

Steven left really early the next morning. Conrad and Jeremiah were going to drive him to the airport. I went down to say goodbye, but I didn’t try to go along because I knew he wouldn’t want me to. He wanted some time, just them, and for once I was going to let him have it without a fight.

When he hugged me goodbye, he gave me his trademark condescending look–sad eyes and a half grimace– and said, “Don’t do anything stupid, all right?” He said it in this significant way like he was trying to tell me something important like I was supposed to understand.

But I didn’t. I said, “Don’t you do anything stupid either, butthead.” He sighed and shook his head at me like I was a child.

I tried not to let it bother me. After all, he was leaving, and things wouldn’t be the same without him. At the very least I could send him off without getting into a petty argument. “Tell Dad I said hi,” I said.

I didn’t go back to bed right away. I stayed on the front porch awhile, feeling blue and a little teary–not that I would ever admit it to Steven.

In a lot of ways, it was like the last summer. That fall, Conrad would start college. His destination was Brown. He might not return the following summer. He might be attending summer school or an internship, or he might backpack through Europe with all of his new roommates. And Jeremiah, he might go to the football camp he was always talking about.

There were a lot of things that could happen between now and then. It occurred to me that I was going to have to make the most of this summer, really make it count, in case there wasn’t another one quite like it. After all, I would be sixteen soon. I was getting older too. Things couldn’t stay the same forever.

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