Mother to Embarrass Me

Mother to Embarrass Me
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  • ISBN-13: 9780385900287
  • ISBN: 0385900287
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books


Williams, Carol Lynch


The Mother I wasn't even all the way home and I could hear it. Music. Old-timey music. Music that a lady almost forty would listen to. It was the Beatles, their "Twist and Shout" song, blasting so loud from my house that in my imagination I could see the curtains straining at the screens to get away from the sound. I heaved a sigh and shifted my pile of library books from one hip to the other. "Mom," I said under my breath. My voice came out a growl. Here it was, the second day into summer vacation, and already there was trouble with my mother. I turned the corner onto Maple Drive and looked in the direction of my place. And that's when I saw him. Quinn Sumsion, probably one of the best-looking guys I know. Probably one of the best-looking guys anyone knows. He walked toward me, his younger brother, Christian, in tow. They bounced a yellow-and-purple basketball between them, taking turns. All of a sudden my books seemed sweaty and heavy. My face turned red. I wiped at my brow with my free hand and pretended I had never been more interested in a purple-and-yellow basketball. The three of us were close enough now that I knew if I looked straight into his face, I'd see how blue Quinn's eyes were. I couldn't look, though. I mean, there was that basketball. And the music blasting from my house. And all these books I was carrying. "Hey, Laura." It was Christian. He gave me a small smile, his braces catching just a glint of sunlight, then passed the ball to his brother. "Hey," I said. I allowed myself a peek at Quinn. I moved a bit to the right and, without meaning to, stepped off the sidewalk with one foot. Three books skidded from the top of my pile and landed faceup on the sidewalk. One was called The Dummies' Guidebook to Falling in Love. I sucked in a breath of air through my nose and resisted the urge to kick this traitor book into the gutter, or to cover the title with my foot. "Oopsie," I said. I hadn't thought it possible for my face to get redder than it was. Why oh why couldn't something different have fallen? Why not Lord of the Flies? I went into a crouch and tried to pick things up. Christian bent too and scooped the books together, then heaped them back on for me. Quinn bounced the ball, and from where I knelt I saw dirt puff up from the ground like a tiny explosion. "You gonna read all summer?" he asked. But he didn't wait for an answer. "I can't believe anyone would waste a summer reading." "I read every summer," I said, not looking at him. My gosh, he was talking to me. To me! "My brother--the big fat brain," Christian said. He tried to steal the ball from Quinn but missed, and his hand swiped at air. "College coming up," Quinn said, twisting from Christian. "I want to have some fun before I start grinding away at learning. I want to rest my brain." He dribbled the basketball, allowing it to bounce in a figure eight while he stepped around it. You are the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life, I thought. My brain shouted these words. I could have stood there all the rest of the summer, holding my ninety-pound stack of books and staring at Quinn Sumsion. Quinn nodded a little, almost like he knew my thoughts. "I can hear your mom's working," he said. "Uh," I said. I think I might have said more, at this one chance to talk to him, but right then, at that very moment, Mom began to yodel. It's this thing she does with her voice every time she sings with an old-fart song like the one that was on now. She finds a harmony and sings it louder than anyone without a microphone should be able to do. "Twist it, baby," Mom sang. "Twist it this way and that way and this way. Come on, baaa-bee. Shout, shout, shout." She was making up her own wWilliams, Carol Lynch is the author of 'Mother to Embarrass Me' with ISBN 9780385900287 and ISBN 0385900287.

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