//chapter//\\one\\


"Gwendolyn!" My mother's voice carried up the stairs loud and clear. It was like the sound of a sea gull on a hot July afternoon. Loud and pestering. I sighed, set down the brush I'd been using to work through my hair and slid on my new Rugrats slippers, a gift from my 16th birthday ten days earlier. Making my way down the stairs, I could see an unfamiliar pair of feet standing in the living room.

"Gwennie!" My cousin Bren rushed over and pulled me into a suffocating hug.

"Bren. You sure have grown up." I smiled weakly, remembering the last time I had seen her. She had been 8 years old, a midget of a thing, and as bothersome as ever. Now she was 13, and a good 7 inches taller than before. Although probably just as annoying.

"You have too! I mean, you never used to have boobs." She blurted. I rolled my eyes and turned to my mom.

"What did you need?"

"Your aunt and uncle are going out of town for two months and they need you to watch the house, and take care of Great-Uncle Roger. So, pack your stuff as soon as you can. You'll be leaving in the morning." She said sternly, making sure that I knew this wasn't an arguable situation.

"You can borrow all of my clothes and listen to my stereo and everything while you're there!" Bren squealed.

"Mom, I have camp next week, and Tessa and I were going to work at her dad's office all summer!" I whined, feeling as though I might puke. With an evil eye from my mother, I was up the stairs packing within a matter of moments. Why me? I thought. This is so unfair. I threw jeans, shirts, skirts, shoes, shorts, sandals, underclothes and swimming suits into my bag and jerked the zipper shut. After gathering all of my make up and hair things I threw my suitcases down the stair case and returned to my bedroom, slamming the wooden door behind me. There was a soft knock on the door and I turned up my stereo to drown it out. I didn't feel like talking to whoever it was. Most likely my mother. She always did a lot of things that angered me but this was just way out of hand.

"Turn that down!" She hollered over my Hanson cd.

"Learn how to enter with permission." I mumbled, turning my stereo off. I walked to my dresser and took my pills, gulping down water to wash away the bitter taste. "I'm going to bed now. Good night."

I switched off the light and crawled into bed. For a few seconds she stood in the doorway. I couldn't see her eyes but I could feel them on me. Turning on her heel, she stepped out, quietly shutting the door behind her.


"Why don't you go take care of your uncle?" I questioned my mom as we stood outside the C2 gate.

"Flight 204, nonstop to Cannon Beach, Oregon, now boarding rows 15 through 25." A female voice announced over the loud speaker.

"Because it'll be good for you." She insisted, handing me my carry-on.

"Leaving my boyfriend, my best friend, and my mother for a whole month during my summer vacation is good for me?!" I raised my voice.

"I'm sorry, Gwendolyn." My mom's voice lowered. "Uncle Roger asked for you." Tears started forming in her now soften eyes. "He's dying, Gwen. He's dying."

Emotion swept over me all of the sudden. With out another word I embraced my mom, kissed her cheek, and headed to the terminal with out another word.

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