Every Little Thing in the World

BOOK: Every Little Thing in the World
5.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Every little thing in the world

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

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 products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2010 by Nina de Gramont

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

is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Book design by Michael McCartney

The text for this book is set in Adobe Garamond.

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Gramont, Nina de.

Every little thing in the world / Nina de Gramont. —
st ed.

p. cm.

Summary: Before she can decide what do about her newly discovered pregnancy, sixteen-year-old Sydney is punished for “borrowing” a car and shipped out, along with best friend Natalia, to a wilderness camp for the next six weeks.

ISBN 978-1-4169-8013-1

ISBN 978-1-4169-8280-7 (eBook)

[1. Pregnancy—Fiction. 2. Friendship—Fiction. 3. Camps—Fiction. 4. Wilderness areas—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.G76564Ev 2010

[Fic]—dc22 2009040335

to my mother and father


“For Each in the loved Home—

Tell me any service and my Heart is ready.”

—Emily Dickinson



First, thanks will always go to my great friend and amazing agent, Peter Steinberg. He, of course, led me to my warm, brilliant, and insightful editor, Caitlyn Dlouhy.

Thanks to friends and readers Mel Boyajian, Alicia Erian, Rebecca Lee, and Hannah Abrams. Thanks to Carmen Rodrigues, for all kinds of advice, and Danae Woodward, for all manner of support. Thanks to Planned Parenthood, Canada, for graciously answering all my questions.

Last (and biggest) thanks will always go to David Gessner, my favorite storyteller.

chapter one

not telling

Natalia and I stole her mother's new blue Cadillac and drove out to Overpeck to find Tommy. Natalia steered inexpertly, lurching her way from the luxurious oaklined streets of Linden Hill, New Jersey—lush lawns and stately manors—to the spindly birch trees and ranch houses of Overpeck, aluminum siding and green awnings everywhere.

“Are you sure Tommy will be at this party?” I asked her.

“Pretty sure,” Natalia said. She drummed her French-manicured nails nervously on the wheel. I couldn't tell if her uneasiness stemmed from our mission or from driving itself. This was our first night together after being grounded for two weeks, and we had promised Natalia's parents we wouldn't set foot outside the house. Natalia had a newly minted learner's permit, but no license. As I wasn't due to begin driver's ed until school started again in the fall, I didn't exactly qualify as the licensed driver who was supposed to be sitting beside her.

It was late in the day, hours after dinner, but the sun still hung stubbornly in the sky. I loved this time of year, early summer, with months of leisure and possibility still ahead. My
part-time job—lifeguarding at the local country club where most of my school friends belonged—didn't start for another ten days, and it would mostly involve dozing behind sunglasses and working on my tan. Even the prospect of confronting Tommy couldn't entirely interfere with the happiness this kind of bright summer night infused in me. Sparrows perched on swinging telephone wires, and the dull slant of sunlight promised that although darkness was taking its time, night would arrive before too long.

The car rattled over potholes and a crooked set of railroad tracks. Natalia parked between an ancient Toyota truck and a battered Chevy Impala. We stepped out of the car and slammed the doors, gravel crunching underneath our feet. Next to the collection of hand-me-down vehicles, the Cadillac looked elegant and out of place. Not unlike Natalia herself—lean, sleek, and raven-haired—picking her way over the splintery post fence and gliding through the tall, wet grass on the strappy designer sandals that had originally belonged to her older sister. Natalia had a funny, endearing face. Her dark eyes were a little too far apart. She had a pronounced bump on the bridge of her nose, and a gap between her two front teeth. Despite her slim body and beautiful clothes, other girls never noticed Natalia until they registered every guy in the world swooning as she walked by.

“Come on, Sydney,” she said, waving her arm toward the woods ahead.

I lagged behind her, my sneakers instantly damp and
squishy. We crossed a rickety old playground and followed the voices. I could smell a festive blend of wood and cigarette smoke, possibly cigars and pot.

The scent reminded me of Tommy, and I felt suddenly ill. “Natalia,” I called. “Wait up a second.”

Natalia stopped, looked at my face, and backtracked to my side. She put her hand on my shoulder as I wrapped my arms around my own middle.

“I'm not sure I can do this,” I said.

“What's wrong?” Natalia said. “Are you nauseous? Is it morning sickness?”

I looked at her as if she'd gone completely insane. “No,” I said. “Definitely not.” I uncrossed my arms and started walking again. Natalia's hand slid off my shoulder, and she strode back to her place in front of me.

No matter what she might think, no matter what the pregnancy test had told me, I knew that the prickly nausea in my middle was most definitely not morning sickness. Apart from my missed period, I had zero symptoms. There had been no barfing, no craving pickles and peanut butter, no swollen breasts. No nothing. I felt so exactly normal that I still didn't really believe it, even though I'd used all three of the sticks that came in the EPT box, and every one had produced two pink lines. It didn't seem possible that something so huge—so catastrophic and monumental—could be going on inside my body, while I looked and felt exactly like my usual sixteen-year-old self.

I had taken the tests at Natalia's house on the very day I was supposed to get my period and fully expected the results to relieve the vague anxiety I'd felt these last two weeks. Afterward, Natalia and I lined them up on the bathroom floor. Then we called the 800 number listed on the box. We sat next to each other, our backs pressed up against the pink porcelain bathtub with lion's feet. Natalia's parents were very old, and from Hungary. They spoke in thick accents and decorated with lots of gilt and animal figurines, the kind of details my mother considered tacky.

Before we called, Natalia had promised me that she would do the talking. But as soon as the customer service rep answered, she thrust the phone into my hands.

“Hello?” the customer service rep said, to my silence.

“Um, hello,” I said. “I just took a pregnancy test? And there are two lines, but the second line is faint. It's very, very faint. So I was wondering, is this a positive result?”

“If there are two lines,” she said, “it's a positive result, no matter how faint the second line is.” I could hear all sorts of sympathy in her voice. No matter how low I tried to pitch my voice, whenever I answered the phone at home, whoever was calling always said, “Is your mother there?” Obviously the customer service woman could tell I was not some twinkling bride, all giddy to give my husband the joyful news. “You do need to see a doctor to confirm,” she said, which sounded vaguely hopeful.

After I thanked her and hung up, Natalia dug her mother's extra car keys from her bedroom bureau. We left our cell
phones—which our suspicious parents had equipped with GPS tracking devices—on Natalia's frilly canopy bed. (Natalia always apologized for that bed. “I know,” she would say. “It's completely childish.” But her mother considered it the height of girlish luxury, and Natalia couldn't bring herself to tell her it was a total embarrassment.)

Now we walked through a muddy state park, toward the keg party that Overpeck High School seniors threw at the end of every June. It was here that Natalia had met her boyfriend, Steve, last year, the two of them becoming the Romeo and Juliet of the twenty-first century.

I held the white pharmacy bag that contained the EPT box and used tests in my right hand. I hadn't brought them along as any kind of proof for Tommy, I just didn't want the evidence within a ten-mile radius of Natalia's house or mine. The first garbage bin I saw, I opened up the lid and pushed the bag deep inside, burying it under McDonald's wrappers and dented soda cans. The odor of garbage didn't help the swirling, nauseated ball in my gut, which was not about being pregnant, I still felt sure, but the anticipation of seeing Tommy again. Not that he was a bad guy. It was just that I hardly knew him. It felt wrong and bizarre, telling him something so personal.

“This seems really pointless,” I said, positioning myself directly behind Natalia. “I don't see what he's going to do. I don't see why I should even tell him.”

“Of course you have to tell him,” Natalia said, striding forward with great purpose. “He's the father.”

The nausea widened. If Tommy was the father, what did that make me?

Almost as soon as we stepped through the trees, the blue sky gave way to dusk. I could see Steve, standing by the keg. He wore a white T-shirt cut off at the sleeves, and a knit wool skullcap, even though it was about eighty-six degrees. I don't think I ever saw him without that cap. He waved at us, or at Natalia anyway.

BOOK: Every Little Thing in the World
5.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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