Authors: Stephanie Karpinske
Tags: #young adult science fiction romance novel
The Samantha Project
By Stephanie Karpinske
Copyright ©2012 Stephanie Karpinske
All rights reserved.
Published by Crazy Dream Publishing, LLC
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, things, and events are fictitious, and any similarities to real persons (live or dead), things, and/or events are coincidental and not intended by the author.
The smell of freshly ground coffee greeted me as I ran behind the counter, dropping my backpack on the floor and grabbing an apron.
“Sam, you’re late,” Jessica whispered as she skirted past me to deliver a latte to the counter.
I washed my hands, then tied my apron around my waist.
“What’s the deal?” she asked. “You’re never late. For anything.”
“I was going over my final project with Mr. Jenkins and it ended up taking forever. Sorry. What can I do?”
Jessica smiled. “You don’t have to be sorry. I was just givin’ you a hard time because you always show up early. Makes the rest of us look bad.”
“Samantha was laaaate.” Will walked by, singing the words like a little kid. “You’re gonna get in traahhhbuulll.”
“Ignore him. Josh isn’t even here. He had to drop his car off at the shop or something. Said he’ll be back in an hour or so. You want to go make scones in back? We’re almost out.”
“Sure,” I said. I headed to the back and started getting the ingredients. The clock on the wall read 3:30. Yikes! I was 15 minutes late.
I knew Jessica wouldn’t tell on me, but Will was a different story. He was jealous that I got all the good shifts and got time off when I asked. Josh, our manager, said it was my reward for always being on time and never talking or texting on my phone during work hours.
Jessica and Will both went to my high school. They were seniors like me. We all started working at the coffee shop at the beginning of the school year. I worked there two or three times a week, usually just a few hours after school. It was close to the university where my parents both worked, so a lot of students hung out there. Sometimes girls from my high school would stop by, hoping to meet a college guy.
“These people are driving me crazy today!” Will stomped back to the kitchen, where I was making the scones. “You know what this girl just ordered? A triple latte made with organic hemp milk and a drop of pumpkin syrup. But she only wanted the syrup if it was made from agave syrup, and then only if the agave syrup was all natural, not commercially processed. Are you kidding me?”
I laughed. “Some people are picky about their drinks.”
“What the hell is hemp milk? Is that even legal?”
“You want me to take the register? You can stay back here.”
“Would you? ’Cause I might just go off on the next person I have to deal with.”
“I’ll do it if you promise not to tell Josh that I was late.”
Will thought about it. I could tell he wanted to rat me out. “Yeah. Whatever. Wouldn’t matter if I told him. He’d still give you better shifts. Why do you care so much anyway? It’s just a stupid job.”
“It’s not stupid. And I like people to see me as being responsible. Like I can be counted on.”
“And how old are you again? Forty? Trapped in a seventeen-year-old’s body?”
I punched him in the shoulder as I left. “Keep that up and I’ll send the hemp milk girl back here.”
“Hey, you’re done already?” Jessica asked.
“No. Will just needed a break from the front. I can take the register.”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you. Colin stopped by before you got here. He said something about a party tonight at—I can’t remember whose house it was at. There’s probably a message on your phone.”
“All right. I’ll check it on my break.”
“Come on, Sam. You’ve already broken one rule today,” she said, egging me on. “Go ahead. Break another one and check your phone. Ooooh, that would be soooo naughty.”
“Ha, ha,” I said. There was nobody left in line, leaving the two of us with nothing to do behind the counter.
“Come on. Don’t you want to know where the party is?”
“No. It doesn’t matter because I’m not going. I have plans tonight.”
“Like what? It’s the holiday weekend! Five whole days off from school.” She did a little celebration dance.
“I’m helping my mom make pies for tomorrow. It’s a tradition. We’ve done it ever since I was little. It’s the night before Thanksgiving bake-off.”
Jessica gave me a strange look. “You get along way too well with your parents, Sam.”
I shrugged. “Well, what can I say? I like doing stuff with them.”
“That’s just weird.”
“It’s not weird. You’ve met my mom and dad. Didn’t you like them?”
“Yeah. But they’re old.”
“They’re in their forties.”
“Yeah. Old. Really old. I don’t want to hang out with old people.”
A good-looking college guy walked in wearing a fraternity sweatshirt.
“I’ll get this one,” Jessica said, “since you already have a boyfriend.” Jessica smiled at the guy as she raced over to the register.
The coffee shop was usually crowded that time of the day, but it was almost empty now as most of the students had gone home for Thanksgiving. With nothing to do, I considered checking my phone but I chickened out. It’d be just my luck that Josh would walk in and catch me. I put my phone back in my pocket just as Jessica passed behind me to get an espresso for the college guy.
“Did you see him? He’s freakin’ hot! And I don’t think he has a girlfriend.”
I’d decided months ago that Jessica’s only reason for working at the coffee shop was to meet college guys. The money was simply a side benefit.
The guy left. Jessica watched as he walked away. “Whatdya think? We’d be cute together, right?”
“Sure. You’d be great together,” I said, going along with her.
“You don’t get how hard it is, Sam.” Jessica became overdramatic. “To be out there, single, looking for love. You already have a boyfriend. And of course, he’s the freakin’ quarterback of the football team. You’re so annoying, Sam.”
“And what is that supposed to mean?”
“Your annoyingly perfect life. Perfect parents. Perfect boyfriend. Perfect grades.”
She made a gag sound with her throat.
“That’s not true. Not everything’s perfect.”
“Name one thing in your life that’s not.”
I thought about it but couldn’t come up with anything. I loved my life. My parents were great. Colin was great. I liked the town we lived in. I even liked my job at the coffee shop.
“See? You’ve got nothing!”
“Well, I’m sure I could come up with something. Just give me a minute.”
“Forget it. Oh, and I forgot, you’re also pretty.” She made a gag sound again.
“I am not. And what are you talking about, Jess? You’re pretty.”
“After two hours of getting ready! I spend an hour getting my hair like this,” she pulled on her long brown hair that she straightened every day. “And then it takes another hour to get my face ready. That reminds me, I have to go to the dermatologist on Friday. I’ve got to put that in my phone.” She took her phone out of her pocket.
“Well, you’re pretty even without all that.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’ll never understand. You just show up at school with a little blush and mascara and look like that.”
“Well, I’m not the girly-girl type. I never have been. When I was little my mom tried putting me in dresses and I hated it. I still do. I’m a jeans and t-shirt type of girl. And I don’t like all that makeup on my face.”
The bell on the door to the coffee shop jingled and my mom walked in.
“Hey, Mom. What are you doing here?”
“Hi, honey. I just stopped by for a coffee and to see if we’re still on for tonight.”
Jessica walked over to the register. “Hi, Mrs. Andrews. What kind of coffee do you want?”
“Hi, Jessica. Um, I’ll take one of those pumpkin lattes.”
“I can get it for her,” I said.
“No, you guys talk. I’ll get it.”
“Thanks, Jess,” I said as I went around the counter to talk to Mom.
“So it looks like it’s really slow here today,” Mom said. “Think you’ll get off early?”
“Yeah, probably. We’re already closing early because of the holiday, but I bet Josh sends us home even before that.”
“Hey, about tonight. Don’t feel like you have to do the pie thing this year. Go out with your friends. I’m sure everyone’s going out with no school tomorrow.”
“Yeah, but I wanna be with you guys tonight. It’s a tradition. You and I making pies. Dad getting the turkey ready. And then we play board games.”
“I know, but you’re older now. And we know you want to be out with Colin. I don’t want you to feel like you have to stay home with us. Dad can help me with the pies.”
“Nope. I’m doing it. I like doing it. I look forward to this all year.”
“Okay, honey. But if you change your mind . . .”
“I’m not gonna change my mind, Mom. You and Dad are stuck with me tonight.”
“Then I’m going to head to the store now and get what we need. I should have gone earlier. The stores are packed and it’s starting to snow. Be careful driving home. They said it’ll probably just be flurries, but you know how your dad worries when you have to drive in this weather.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“I know you will. Love you!”
She took her latte from the counter. “Thanks, Jessica. Have a nice Thanksgiving.”
“You, too, Mrs. Andrews.”
Mom left and Jessica started wiping the counter. “You see that?”
“If my mom came in here, she’d be yelling at me because I didn’t do my homework or I didn’t clean the bathroom or I forgot to take my brother to his piano lesson. And on and on. She’s constantly nagging me about something.”
“Maybe she’s just stressed from work.”
“Your mom works! Face it, Sam. You just have an annoyingly perfect relationship with your annoyingly perfect parents.”
Will came out from the kitchen. “Scones are done. Hey, where is everyone?”
Jessica laughed. “They all left as soon as you went back to make the scones.”
“Are you serious? There’s like nobody here. Why are
still here? I’m goin’ home.”
“You have to wait for Josh,” I said. “You can’t just leave.”
“Tell him I got sick. ’Cause I’m leaving.” Will took off his apron and went to the back to grab his stuff. Within minutes, he was gone, leaving Jess and me to clean up the mess he’d left in the kitchen.
“We should go, too,” Jessica said as we wiped down tables. “Let’s call Josh and see if we can leave.”
“He’s not gonna let us leave until he gets here. If you want to go, I’ll clean up in back.”
“Really? That would be awesome! I’ll just finish cleaning the tables.”
I went back to the kitchen and began wiping everything down. Will had flour everywhere. I didn’t how he could be so messy. There was even flour on the microwave on the other side of the room.
Jessica came into the kitchen. “Okay, I’m done. You sure you don’t mind staying?”
“No. Go ahead. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Trust me, it won’t be happy. If you knew my relatives, well, never mind. I’ll tell you later. But I’m sure
have a happy Thanksgiving. See ya!”