Authors: Margie Broschinsky
This book is dedicated to my husband Jason, without whom I would never have started this wonderful, wild, exhausting, and completely gratifying undertaking.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to the many people who have helped me write this story. Thank you to Jamie—I’m so happy I met you and grateful to have been able to learn from your immense talents. Many thanks to my writing group, The Salt City Scribes. Thank you to my friends and family: Carly, Kassy, Samantha, Marta, Amy F., Mary, Courtney, Gracie, Julie, Chrissie, Wendy, Chris, Kathy, Amy D., Paula, Jane, Alyssa and Alayne. Thank you to Clint for coaching me along the way. Thanks to my editor Julie Wright at Precision Editing Group and to everyone who has supported me in this process. Thanks also to the kind people at Rowley’s South Ridge Farms in Santaquin, Utah for taking the time to teach me the ins and outs of working at an apple orchard.
Summer in Iron Springs. Copyright © 2012 by Margie Broschinsky. Edited by Precision Editing Group. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Cover design by CJ McDaniel
– Adazing Book Cover Design.
Phoebe Levick didn’t need a judge to tell her it was wrong to spray paint Vincent van Gogh smoking a pipe on the auto shop wall. But, come on, it was just a little graffiti. And—not that it’s an excuse or anything—but the painting was pretty good. Even the police officer thought so. He gave her the same
you have a lot of potential and could really go places if you’d use your talent constructively
speech she had just heard from her school principal.
Obviously Principal Sander’s had to
give her a lecture reprimanding her for her bad behavior but, when he saw the image on the wall, he smiled. And it wasn’t a little grin either; it was a take-over-your-whole-face smile; the kind you can’t fake. He tried to hide it but Phoebe saw it and it made her feel good. It almost made getting arrested worth it. Almost.
If Phoebe thought the excellence of her graffiti skills would count for som
ething, she couldn’t have been more wrong. This was evidenced by the fact that she—three days post-court appearance—was sitting in the passenger seat of an old run down truck heading to Iron Springs, Utah where she would spend her summer slaving away in her aunt’s apple orchard. Further proof of her tragic situation was evidenced by where she
. She wasn’t at NYU’s summer art program. She’d worked her butt off to get accepted to the elite program and because of one stupid mistake—okay, because of a few really stupid mistakes—her dream of improving her artistic talent while preparing to hold her own art exhibit in New York was crushed.
Phoebe glanced at the plump man in the driver seat. She guessed Norm Wesley to be about the same age as her father but noted that all similarities between the two men ended there. Peter Levick, her way-too-serious
attorney father, was a competitive runner and had been for as long as Phoebe could remember. Looking at the huge belly that hung over Norm’s pants; Phoebe wondered if he could run if he was being chased by a hungry bear.
“This radio’s a cotton-pickin’ piece of
junk,” The chubby man threw his hands in the air and waved them around before replacing them on the steering wheel. “She never likes to work when we’re driving up this canyon.” Then, patting the dash board softly, he added, “But, she knows I love her.”
In her wildest dreams, Phoebe could not
imagine her father using the words ‘cotton-pickin’
and he would most definitely never talk to a radio as though it had feelings—he couldn’t even talk to
had feelings. When he informed her that she would be spending the summer in her late mother’s home-town, it sounded like he was reading from a legal draft; something about how life had been too easy for her and how she needed to learn to work in order to appreciate everything she’d been given. He went on and on about how disappointing it had been that she was spending time with people who were using drugs.
never even bothered letting her explain. He just assumed she had used drugs, which she never had. In Peter’s opinion, just being with people who smoked pot meant she had a drug problem. Unfortunately, even the Seattle Juvenile Court System subscribed to the guilty-by-association philosophy. So, in the end, she was found guilty of defacing private property, illegal drug use, and theft (come on, it was one can of spray paint—the auto shop teacher had at least fifty more).
Norm’s loud throat-clearing noises barged into Phoebe’s thoughts and she glanced at him just in time to see him spit whatever nasty substance he’d hacked up out the window.
That was pretty much the most disgusting thing ever.
Leaning forward, she dug her hand in her purse, pulled out
her sketchpad and glanced at the sailboat drawing she’d sketched while on the flight from Seattle to Salt Lake City. It wasn’t very good but the lady in the window seat on the plane thought it was amazing and that made her feel good. It also made her wonder how a perfect stranger could recognize her talent when her own father couldn’t. She flipped the page and reviewed the list she’d started while on the plane.
Pros and cons of spending the summer in Iron Springs:
Entire summer before senior year in Iron Springs. May as well be an eternity. Con.
Forced to live with Aunt Anna. Don’t even know the woman. Con.
NYU art program. Big. Huge.Con.
She let out a long exaggerated sigh and scrawled another entry onto the page:
4. Trapped in an old rusty truck with a four hundred pound Hillbilly. Con.
She resisted the urge to fill the entire page with cons and closed the notebook before rolling
down the window—literally rolling, since the truck was too old to have automatic windows.
“How much farther?” she asked, inhaling a breath of fresh air.
Norm glanced in the rearview mirror and grinned at his reflection. “It ain’t too far.”
What kind of answer is that?
Phoebe removed the elastic band that circled her wrist and pulled her hair into a pony tail while staring aimlessly out the window. If her dad had let her bring her cell phone she could have texted her best friend, Elise, to find out what Jaxon, her on again, off again, sort of boyfriend was up to. When she told him she’d be gone for the whole summer, all he said was ‘that sucks’. Not exactly the response she was hoping for.
It wasn’t like she was in love with Jaxon. But, he was the core of their social group and Phoebe wasn’t quite sure where she’d fit in if she wasn’t with him. Of course he was hot and popular and every girl wanted to date him. But he was also selfish and clueless. If it wasn’t for him and his stupid friends taking so long to get high, she wouldn’t be in this mess. She
didn’t want to smoke pot, so while they got high, she spray-painted Vincent van Gogh smoking a pipe on the wall. When the judge asked Phoebe about the marijuana, Jaxon didn’t say a word. He just sat there silent—worried about saving his own butt. Phoebe tried to explain that she had never used drugs but she could tell by the judge’s reaction that he didn’t believe her. She was sure her father and his golfing buddy (AKA Judge Mower) were working together to keep her away from Jaxon . . . and away from New York.
Phoebe let out a defeated sigh and rested her head on the
window as a small green sign with the words
painted on it rushed by.
looked at Norm who was busy drumming his chubby fingers on the steering wheel. “Shouldn’t we have exited back there?”
Norm turned up the volume during the chorus of Garth Brooks’
I’ve got friends in low places
and waited until the song was over before answering the question. And then he didn’t
answer—unless you call ‘nope’ an answer.
Nope? Nope, what?
Phoebe exhaled loudly and narrowed her eyes at Norm. “My aunt lives in Iron Springs, doesn’t she?”
Norm looked at her and chuckled before returning his gaze to the road ahead. “Yep, she does. But, I thought you’d wanna see the orchard first thing. Plus, I gotta check in with my guys, make sure everything’s runnin’ smooth.” Then, laughing like it was the funniest thing he’d ever said, he added, “We’ve been busier than a bunch of one-armed paper hangers.”
Phoebe could almost feel the steam escaping from her ears. “My dad told me you were
taking me to my aunt’s house.”
“I am, right after we go to the orchard.” The truck hit a bump and Norm’s belly wobbled up and down before finally settling in his lap. “Your aunt owns the entire apple market in this area. Didn’t you know that?”
The last thing Phoebe needed was a tour of an apple orchard. She stuffed the sketchpad back in her purse. “Uh, no, I didn’t know.” She made no effort to hide her annoyance.
And I don’t care.
When her dad told her she’d be spending the summer working in Anna’s apple orchard, she pictured a few hundred trees in her aunt’s back yard. She had no idea her aunt was the owner of an entire apple enterprise. “So, my aunt owns all this?” Phoebe surveyed the sea of red and green that went on for miles.
Norm gave another annoying chuckle. “She sure does, little lady. You’re in for a real treat this summer.”
If Norm really wanted to give her a treat, he’d turn around; head back to the airport and put her on a flight to New York. She let out a long frustrated breath. “Is this going to take a long time?”
“We’ll get there soon enough.” Norm cocked his head to the side, dug his pinky finger in his ear and wiggled it around. “You sure are in a hurry for someone who didn’t want to come out here in the first place.”
“I’m in a hurry to get this over with.” Phoebe said flatly.
“It’ll be over when it’s over
,” was Norm’s unapologetic reply.
Phoebe breathed a heavy sigh and put her back to Norm. There was nothing she could say. After all, Norm was right. She
want to be in Iron Springs. But, apparently what she wanted was not important. If it was, she’d be spending the summer in New York. Getting the acceptance letter from NYU had been a dream-come-true for her and something she had worked really hard for. If she lived to be a hundred, she would never forgive her father for taking that away from her.
The truck’s engine roared into a lower gear as it made its way along the
bumpy dirt road that wound through the orchard. Phoebe’s eyes were drawn to snow-capped mountains, far off in the distance. The picturesque way they towered over the valley below reminded her of a snowy landscape she’d painted sophomore year in her studio art class. Her art teacher, Mrs. Richmond, had given her a Monet print that Christmas and she’d fallen in love with his impressionistic style. Since then, she’d completed three more pieces using impressionism. Despite her predetermined hatred for her summer prison camp, she could not ignore the beauty of the mountainside. She refused to write it down, but the view forced her to put a single imaginary check mark in the “pro” column of her list. Shivering in response to the drop in temperature, she rolled up the window.
“Here we are.” Norm slowed the truck to a stop beneath a large wooden sign engraved with the words ANNA’S APPLES.
Anna owns all this land from way over there to clear down there.” Norm pointed a finger out the window to indicate the orchard’s boundaries.