Read Beyond Repair Online

Authors: Lois Peterson

Tags: #JUV039030, #book

Beyond Repair

BOOK: Beyond Repair
4.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Beyond Repair

Lois Peterson



Copyright © 2011 Lois Peterson

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Peterson, Lois J., 1952-
Beyond repair [electronic resource] / Lois Peterson.
 (Orca currents)

Electronic monograph in PDF format.
Issued also in print format.
ISBN 978-1-55469-818-9

I. Title. II. Series: Orca currents (Online)
PS8631.E832B49 2011A     JC813'.6     C2010-907996-5

First published in the United States, 2011
Library of Congress Control Number:

Cam, still grieving over the death of his father, is worried that he is being stalked.

Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this
book on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.

10% of the author royalties of
Beyond Repair
will be donated to youth programs at the White Rock Hospice Society

Cover design by Teresa Bubela
Cover photography by Dreamstime

OX 5626, Stn. B
OX 468
Victoria, BC Canada
Custer, WA USA
V8R 6s4
Printed and bound in Canada.

14   13   12   11   •   4   3   2   1

For Doug, my first and best reader


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen


Chapter One

Even from my bed, I can tell it has snowed outside. All around is a soft silence.

But not for long. “Cam?” Leah thumps on my door.

“Buzz off.”


“Okay, okay. Come in if you must.”

In the morning my sister always looks much younger than seven. She is fresh and clean, and her tantrums from the day before have washed away.

I sometimes wish I could get away with her hissy fits. I'd love to dump my cereal bowl on the floor just because we're out of Shreddies.

Mom keeps threatening to take Leah to a psychologist. I don't get to freak out. Too many people telling me, “Your mother and sister depend on you. You're the man of the house now.”

Real men don't throw cereal bowls.

“Can I come in?” Leah stands in the doorway in her purple jammies.

“You're in, aren't you?”

“I'm hungry.” She walks to my bed and shoves her face into mine. She runs her finger across my top lip. “You're getting a mustache!”

I leap out of bed and peer into my mirror. I tip my head one way, then the other. There is a glimmer of hair above my lip. If I wasn't so fair, I'd have been shaving months ago, like my best friend DJ.

“You could have Dad's razor,” says Leah. “If Mom hadn't thrown it out.”

When she starts to snivel, I do the only thing that can stop her. “Snap out if it!” I yell. “Or you'll make me cry too.”

“You're mean. It's okay to cry.” She rolls her bottom lip up over her top lip and sticks out her tongue to lick the snot creeping toward her mouth.

“Don't do that. It's disgusting. And you don't have to cry every time someone mentions him.”

“What's that noise?” Leah asks. She climbs on my bed and pushes the curtain aside. “It's snowing!” she screeches. She bounces back down. “Let's get dressed so we can go out in it.”

“We've got school. Anyway, it won't last.”

“I want to stay home and play in the snow.” Leah's already headed to her bedroom. “If we're out there when Mom gets home, she can't stop us.”

Wanna bet
? When Mom gets back from her night shift at the hospital, she expects to find us dressed and eating breakfast, with our lunches packed. Some days she's so tired, she can hardly say hello before she heads to her room, still in her coat.

I look outside. Then I lean closer. So close I can feel the cool air on the other side of the window. It can't have been snowing that long. There's hardly enough to shovel.

But someone is out there already. And the driveway being shoveled is ours.

The shoveler is wearing a green parka with the hood pulled up. It's not Mr. Lyon from next door. He has emphysema. Our neighbors on the other side are in Disneyland with their four kids.

I pull on a sweatshirt and drag yesterday's pants over yesterday's underwear. I hop across the room, first on one leg, then on the other, as I pull on yesterday's socks.

Leah is sitting in the middle of the hallway struggling into her snowsuit. “Hurry up,” she says. She frowns down at her zipper. “I wanna make a snowman.”

“Idiot. There's not enough snow. Anyway, you've grown out of that.” As I push past her, I hear the muffler on Mom's car. It's been growling for six months. I can hear it from a block away. “Mom will be here in a minute. Quick. Get to the table.”

Leah trails after me into the kitchen with the top half of her snowsuit dragging behind her. “Can we have French toast?” she asks.

“It's not Sunday.”

“If Dad was here, he'd make me French toast if I asked.”

Oh, sure he would!
I think.
Just like
he'd help you do your homework or fix
your bike

“I don't want French toast really,” says Leah. “You make it all sloppy.”

“Quit jabbering on about it, would you!” I say. Can it be possible that she's a bigger pest now than ever?

“I want Mommy,” she whines. She struggles out of the snowsuit and drops it in a pink puddle by her chair.

“Stuff it, will you.” I set out a box of cereal and a jug of milk in front of my whiny sister.

“You're mean,” she wails. “You're the worstest brother in the world.”

. Not
. Eat your breakfast.” I go into the living room and pull back the curtains.

Outside, Mom is standing on the driveway. There's some snow on the ground, but hardly enough to stop traffic—or to need clearing yet.

She's yelling at a man who is leaning on a shovel. She's probably mad because the shovel is making a great gouge in her daffodil bed. As she waves her arms, her purse swings to and fro. When it hits the man's leg, he moves aside. Then he leans toward Mom, talking right into her face.

He holds up one hand. He's keeping Mom back, or calming her down. I can't tell from here.

I can only make out a bit of what she's saying. “You have no business…!” she yells. “I'll report you. If I catch you…”

The man steps closer, as if he's begging.

Let him go
, I think.
They're only
flowers, for Pete's sake

Mom turns her back on him and heads for the house. As she flings open the front door and rushes inside, a gust of cold air swirls into the room. The door slams behind her.

Her face is very pale. Her eyelashes glisten with tears. She's breathing hard.

“What was that about?” I ask. “Who is that?

She takes a deep breath in, then lets it shudder out of her as she stares through me. She opens her mouth, but no words come out. Tears wash down her face.

She takes another ragged breath. “That…” She waves toward the front door and gulps. “That's the man who killed your father.”

I rush back to the window. “What? What do you mean?”

All I see are exhaust fumes as a blue pickup disappears from sight—and a snow shovel sticking out of my mother's favorite flower bed.

Chapter Two

It takes me a while, but I finally manage to get Leah out of the house and dropped off at school.

I've never seen Mom quite so riled. She was a savage mixture of mad and desperate as she stomped around the kitchen. I was glad to get out of there.

“Talk about spooky,” says DJ when I tell him who showed up. “That guy must be some kind of creep.” He slaps his locker door shut and it flips open again. “He really said he was helping out? Just doing what your old man would be doing if he was still here?” He slams the locker shut again. It bounces back.

“You ever see Dad shovel a driveway?” I ask. Like DJ—or anyone—ever saw my father do anything that didn't involve the financial pages of the newspaper or computer spreadsheets. I doubt he even knew how to use a shovel.

“And we'd have run him off soon enough, wouldn't we?” DJ grins and slams the locker door one more time. It finally closes.

After a big snow last winter, DJ and I roamed the neighborhood offering to shovel people's driveways. For free. He figured that if we didn't ask for payment, people would be so grateful, they'd give us more than they would if we set a price.

It worked.

Most people gave us ten or fifteen bucks when I thought the job was worth five, maybe ten for very long driveways. One woman even gave us a fifty-dollar bill. She wouldn't take any change. Later, on my way home, I shoved a twenty in her mailbox.

I didn't tell DJ though. He'd think I was soft.

Even better than the hundred and eighty bucks I made that day was that, when I got home, wiped out and freezing, Dad was actually there. He set his stacks of papers aside and turned off the computer. He even made me tomato soup and a bologna sandwich. And he sat at the kitchen table with me while I ate it. It was some kind of a first. I knew better than to make a big deal of it. I just ate slowly to make it last. We talked—although I can't remember what about.

BOOK: Beyond Repair
4.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Administration Series by Francis, Manna
Buried in Cornwall by Janie Bolitho
Arizona Pastor by Jennifer Collins Johnson
Crazy on You by Rachel Gibson
Starship Alexander by Jake Elwood
A Christmas Courtship by Jeannie Machin
Rendezvous by Nelson Demille