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Authors: Lauren Strasnick

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Social Issues, #Friendship, #Dating & Sex

Her and Me and You

BOOK: Her and Me and You
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HER AND ME AND YOU

 

Also by
Lauren Strasnick

Nothing Like You

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people,
or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales
or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

SIMON PULSE

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

First Simon Pulse hardcover edition October 2010

Copyright © 2010 by Lauren Strasnick

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact
Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-866-506-1949 or [email protected]

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event.
For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at
www.simonspeakers.com
.

Designed by Mike Rosamilia

The text of this book was set in Adobe Garamond.

Manufactured in the United States of America

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Strasnick, Lauren.

Her and me and you / by Lauren Strasnick. — 1st Simon Pulse hardcover

ed. p. cm.

Summary: Struggling with family problems but determined to make new

friends after moving and missing Evie her best friend since childhood,

Alex is attracted to Fred and he to her despite the jealous meddling of

Fred's twin sister, Adina.

ISBN 978-1-4169-8266-1 (hardcover : alk. paper)

[1. Coming of age—Fiction. 2. Family problems—Fiction.
3. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 4. Brothers and sisters—Fiction.
5. Twins—Fiction. 6. Sex—Fiction. 7. Best friends—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.S89787He 2010

[Fic]—dc22

2010007188
ISBN 978-1-4424-0949-1 (eBook)

 

For my dad. And for Aaron.

 

HER AND ME AND YOU

1.

I met Fred first.

At a party on Orchard Ave. that Charlotte Kincaid took me to.

Him: “Need a beer?”

Me: “I’ve already got one.”

“Well, drink up,” he instructed. He was pale and skinny (and who wears Docksiders and corduroy?). “When you’re ready I’ll get you another.”

Charlotte and I stood shoulder to shoulder chomping pretzels and watching the drunk crowd rock. Charlotte nursed her canned Bud Light and I picked at a pebble of salt wedged between my two front teeth.

“You’re new,” he said.

“Right.”
You’re new
. No question mark.

I’d been in Meadow Marsh a week. I missed home. And
Evie. And Charlotte Kincaid would never be Evie. She was soft-spoken and smelled like baby powder and dryer sheets. She had none of Evie’s charm or spark.

“Let’s sit,” Fred suggested.

“I’d rather not.”

Charlotte shot me a look, then wandered away. Where was she going? Bathroom? Food foraging? “I want to be alone,” I told him, downing the rest of my beer and grabbing another out of the six-pack on the floor by his feet.

“You’re at a party.”

I felt my face flush, then twisted the top off the bottle and shoved the cap in my coat pocket.

“You don’t really want to be alone. . . .”

True. I wanted to be with Evie. Or home in Katonah with Mom and Dad watching crappy TV. I took a bitter swig of beer and handed the bottle back. “You want the rest?” It was time to go.

“Your backwash?”

“Nice meeting you,” I said. I pulled my hat from my bag.

“Wait—you’re leaving?”

“Do me a favor? If you see Charlotte Kincaid, tell her I walked home?”

“You can’t walk—it’s pitch-black and freezing.”

“I’ll be fine,” I said. “My grandmother’s place is like, half a mile away.”

“You live with your grandma?”

In fact, no. Grams was dead. But I’d just moved twenty-eight miles with my unhinged mother to my grandmother’s place in Connecticut. Because my favorite parent, Dad, had done some very bad things with a paralegal named Caroline.

“Hey—”

I pulled on my hat and headed for the door.

“Wait!”

“What?”

“Your name?”

“Alex.”

Alex
, he mouthed. “I’m Fred.”

“Fred, right.” I was walking backward now, toward the foyer. “What’s with the Docksiders, Fred?”

He looked down, then back up. “You don’t like my shoes?”

I smiled, turned, and reached for the door.

2.

My mother was on her back—drunk, messy, her head
hanging off the side of the sofa.

“Shit, Mommy.” I dropped my keys, my coat, and hoisted her head back onto the couch cushions. “Hey,” I said, loudly shaking her shoulders. I checked her pulse, her breath—still living. I grabbed an afghan off the recliner and covered her up, then rolled her onto her side just to be safe. I left a trashcan nearby.

In the morning, I called Evie.

“Yo.”

“Hi.” She sounded groggy; dreamy.

“You asleep?”

“Sort of.”

“Well can you talk?”

A beat. I heard muffled whispering, laughing. Then: “I’ll call you back.”

“Eves?”

“What?”

“Is someone there?”

“I’ll call you later.”
Click.

I chucked my cell onto the floor and the battery popped out. “Crap.” I got out of bed, forced everything back in its place, jimmied the window open, and dialed Dad.

He picked up. “Snow.”

“I know.” I hammered the window open wider and stuck my head outside.

“How’s my girl?”

“Freezing.” I was inside now. Creeping back into bed. “How’s home?”

“We miss you.” We: Dad. Chicken, the dog.

“Mom’s a real mess, you know.”

“Honey.”

“Have you broken things off with slutty Caroline?”

“Al.”

“Because I’m ready for things to go back how they were.”

“Honey, it’s not that easy.”

“I don’t believe you,” I said. Then, “Gotta go.” I flipped my phone shut and buried myself under piles of covers. I curled my knees to my chest, inspecting a scab on my big toe.

3.

I met Adina the following Monday.

Meadow Marsh High was triple the size of my old school. Stained glass. Brick. Science wing. Student center.

I ate lunch alone at an empty table near the restrooms. French fries and ranch. My fave. I crammed five skinny fries into my mouth and looked up. Hovering overhead? Docksider Fred. With a girl.

“Can we sit?”

The girl wore a tattered black dress with four teensy rosebuds embroidered at the collar. Over that she had on a men’s tweed coat. She was frail and blond and made me feel oversize and mannish.

“Is this your girlfriend?” I asked.

They sat side by side and close. The girl pulled five clementines out of her book bag, frowning. “His sister.”

“Adina,” said Fred, pulling a wad of green gum from his mouth. “Where’s your friend?”

“Who?”

“That girl from the party.”

“Oh.” I shrugged. “Charlotte Kincaid. Yeah, I dunno.”

“Orange?” offered Adina, digging her thumbnail into a clementine rind.

“No. Thanks though.”

Fred pulled a to-go bowl of Cheerios from his blazer pocket. “Awesome table.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Yes,” he said, pulling the paper lid off his cereal bowl. “Seriously—next time, find a spot
away
from the bathrooms.” He smiled. His freckled face made me want to bake a batch of brownies. Down a gallon of milk.

“Hey, what’s your name?” The girl asked.

I redirected my gaze. “Alex.”

“Alex.” She chewed. “You’re from . . . ?”

“Katonah.”

“Oh, right.” She nodded like she knew all about it. “So, Katonah, why are you here?”

“Ah—” I wasn’t sure what to say.
My dad’s a raging slut
? “My parents—Well, my dad—” I stopped, starting again: “My mom’s from here,” I finished.

“Fascinating,” Adina deadpanned, angling away from me. “Eat faster,” she said to Fred.

I winced, watching her nibble at an orange slice. Fred eyed me apologetically. “You settling in okay?”

I shrugged.

“If you need someone to show you around . . .”

Adina laughed, then slapped a hand over her mouth.

“What? What’s so funny?” said Fred.

“No, it’s just—” Who knew a giggle could sound so patronizing? “No, nothing. You’re cute.” She made her eyes into small slits.

“Well, if you’re feeling lost,” Fred said, ignoring her, ripping a piece of loose-leaf from his binder and scribbling something down. “My number.” He smiled, sliding the paper forward.

“Thanks,” I said cautiously, watching Adina. She watched me back. “Hey,” I said softly. “Who’s older?”

Fred took one last bite of cereal and pushed his bowl forward. “We’re twins.”

“Oh.” They looked only vaguely alike. Both blond. Both thin. I wondered briefly what Evie might think of Adina. She’d love her pointy collarbone but would call her names behind her back.
Skeletor. Bobblehead
.

“Hey, Katonah.”

“Yeah?”

“Here.” She tossed a clementine rind across the table. It landed lightly in my lap.

“What’s this for?” I picked it up, inspecting it.


I just felt like giving you something.”

“I’m touched?”

“You should be. Those things are precious. You think oranges grow on trees?”

4.

“Mommy, it’s three. Have you been downstairs yet?”

The room was a dull black. I pushed back the curtains and cracked the window halfway.

“How was school?”

“Fine.”

“Meet anyone nice?”

I sat down on the edge of the bed. “I don’t know yet.” I shut one eye against the light and watched Mom pull her hair into a tight knot. She used to be pretty. Now she looked worn and pale.

“Did Charlotte show you around?” My mother knew Charlotte Kincaid. She was the daughter of Deirdre Kincaid, Mommy’s oldest friend.

“Sort of.”

“Nice girl, right?”

I shrugged.

I could’ve stayed in Katonah. I
would’ve
stayed, had I thought my mother could survive the additional blow of me choosing Dad over her. “Come downstairs? I’ll make you a snack.”

She smiled. “Have you talked to Dad?”

I nodded. “I’m home with him this weekend.”

Her face fell. She loved Dad, but Dad loved Caroline. I pushed back her covers and tried tugging her out of bed.

“No honey, not yet.” She wasn’t always this way. So screwy. Dad broke her. “Gimme a minute, okay?”

I let go and her hand hit the bed with a bounce.

5.

Weekend home.

Evie and I were dressed in big down parkas and galoshes. We lay on our backs in the snow.

“So wait—where was I?”

In the middle of telling me this: She’d found love. With a boy we’d known peripherally for years. Ben Ackerman. Curly hair. AP track. Water polo. He dated small, athletic girls. Cheerleaders, mostly. Girls who could be tossed in the air.

“At Pia Borelli’s.”

“Right, Pia Borelli’s. So we left her house at eleven and went back to my place—”

“Where was Judith?” Judith: Evie’s mother.

“Home. Downstairs watching CNN. And we were upstairs on the floor in my room playing cards and then, out
of nowhere, he kissed me. I was like, ‘Go fish,’ and then we were kissing, and then . . .”

“And then what?”

“Then, you know.”

“What?”

“We did it.”

My heart plummeted. “Oh.”

Evie’s first kiss had happened when we were eleven. His name was Lennon and they dated for one week. She let him feel her up.

“You did it with Judith downstairs?”

“So?”

I’d never even kissed anyone. Except Evie. Who would sometimes use me for practice when she wanted to brush up on technique.

“No, nothing. It’s just—well, what was it like?”

“Amazing.”

“It didn’t hurt?”


Yeah
it hurt, but you can’t imagine how awesome it feels being that close to another human being.” Evie was on her side, her wavy hair poking out in jagged tufts from underneath her cap.

“No, I can. I mean, I get it. Like, that person’s inside you,” I said.

“It’s more than that.” She sat up, pulled off her hat, and shook out her hair. “You just can’t understand until you do it.”

I flinched—“Oh, sure”—and nodded like that meant something. Evie had always been rash, a little reckless. But this—this took “impulsive” to a whole other level. “You really like him?”

“Why would you ask that? Of course.” Her eyes narrowed. “Are you jealous?”

BOOK: Her and Me and You
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