Meet Me at Midnight by Jessica Pennington
English | 2020 | Children/Young Adult | ePUB | 5.2 MB
Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her novel, with her husband Josh and their son, Rory.
Here’s the problem with knowing someone since you were ten and vacationing with them since you were thirteen: they know way too much. They’ve seen things. The neurotic things you only did once. The embarrassing things you wish you could forget. Usually it’s people we love who know these seemingly harmless things. But when it’s someone you hate … those tiny bits of your past become the ultimate ammunition. And with the right arsenal, it’s war. The war I call summer lasts exactly fifty-six days. It doesn’t end, and it has only two sides: mine and his.
Asher Marin doesn’t let me live anything down, and he doesn’t let me forget. I don’t let him, either. It’s why we’re both darting out of our cabins at 8:37 a.m. on the first full day of summer vacation. Why I sat by the window, barely able to make out the shadow of him at his, as I ate my bowl of cereal this morning, twitching out of my seat with every flutter of activity from the kitchen window that mirrors mine. It’s our sixth year vacationing together in twin houses that sit atop a little hill overlooking a sprawling inland lake. And saying that we know each other doesn’t even begin to describe the two of us. To survive summer, I don’t just have to know Asher, I have to get in his brain.
“Your hair looks pretty today,” he says. I’m walking out of my door as he walks out of his, my cereal bowl discarded so quickly I’m not positive it isn’t in shards in the old metal sink. We’re mirror images starting our days, as we each make a hard turn onto the concrete sidewalks that run alongside our houses—toward the deck that juts out from the hill rising up from the shoreline. He’s lazily smiling, and someone who didn’t know him—didn’t know us—would think he was being sweet. Complimenting me. But he’s not smiling, he’s smirking. I don’t have to look at his face to know; I can hear it in his voice. In the way the word hair comes out on the whisper of a laugh he didn’t allow himself to let loose.
Because Asher’s in my brain, too. He knows I hate when my curls get like this, wild and untamable in the summer humidity. When I was younger I’d try to straighten them every morning, like I did for school, and as the day went on and the Michigan air took its toll, the curls would rise up around my face, consuming me like my very own auburn wildfire. When I was sixteen, I finally decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Wasn’t worth the snickers throughout the day, the sideways glances from him as my hair revealed its true form after a day of swimming. Who was I trying to impress, anyway? I like how easy it’s made my daily routine for two months out of the year.
My hand is going to my hair without thinking, but I catch myself, twisting a few pieces in my fingers and squinting my eyes at him, still coming down the little sidewalk, keeping pace with me. I speed up, and he matches me.