Read Winter Untold (Summer Unplugged) Online
Authors: Amy Sparling
The Summer Unplugged Series
Also by Amy Sparling
Coming soon: Spring Unleashed
2013 by Amy Sparling
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Cover image from shutterstock.com
First Edition December 24
Having a moderately famous boyfriend isn’t as exciting as I once thought it would be. The good parts outweigh the bad parts by far—like how just last week my boyfriend Jace did a radio interview and gave a shout out to me, his “adorable girlfriend” on air. But lately the bad parts about dating a professional motocross racer are happening more frequently.
I frown as I read the text on my cell phone.
Jace: Um…sorry babe but I have some more slightly bad news.
being Jace’s keyword for when his job has gotten in the way of our relationship again. The first few times he texted me about having bad news, I freaked, thinking he wanted to break up or that something horrible had happened to him. Nope, the first incident was just “bad” in that he had to push our dinner date back two hours thanks to him needing to teach a last-minute motocross lesson.
I let out a long sigh and stare at my phone screen, reading the text again and then scrolling up to read over his previous texts from today. I don’t feel like replying right away because my emotions would get to me and I’d just say something rude, or something bitchy and it would ruin both of our moods. Jace Adams is moderately famous after all and by some freaking miracle he chose me to be his girlfriend and I’ll be damned if I’m going to screw it up by whining every time his fame gets in the way of seeing me.
But I really want to whine right now.
My head hits my pillow as I stare up at the white ceiling above my bed. Only a few minutes have passed but Jace texts me again.
Jace: Call me when you’re free. I love you!
The front door opens and I hear Mom and her new boyfriend teasing each other about who’s chicken parmesan recipe is better. It is so weird that Mom has a boyfriend now. I can’t remember her ever having a boyfriend, not in my entire seventeen years. But she’s happy now so
I’m happy for her. Plus her boyfriend takes up all of her free time, leaving more time for me to stay up late on the phone or go out of town to visit my boyfriend. She used to care about these things but now she’s too distracted.
Jace answers on the first ring. “Hey there beautiful.”
“Don’t ‘hey there beautiful’ me,” I say with a smile. “You’re about to give me some bad news again, aren’t you?”
“Um…have I told you how much I love you lately?”
There’s a shuffling on the other end of the line as if he’s opening and closing his dresser drawers. “The good news is that I’
ve been asked to help out on Team Yamaha’s pit crew, which is one step closer to getting me back into professional motocross,” he says. The excitement in his voice radiates through the phone. Jace had to stop racing professionally when he got himself fired for starting a fight with another racer a year ago. Since then he’s been teaching motocross lessons at a local Texas motocross track. It sucks for him but it’s good for me because professional racers travel all around the country. Teaching lessons allows Jace to stay in Mixon which is just forty-five minutes away from where I live.
“What’s the bad news?” I ask even though I don’t want to.
I’d like to pretend that all news is good news and that the sinking feeling in my stomach is only there because I’m hungry not because my heart is breaking into pieces that each long for my boyfriend.
Jace’s voice sounds as sad as I feel. “Well, it’s going to put me on the road for six months. I’m still gonna try to see you as much as possible, but the races are every weekend so I don’t know how we’ll work around your school schedule. But even if I have to see you at night, I’ll still come down there.”
I’m silent for a moment as once again, I think about how all my problems would be solved if I just dropped out of high school and got my GED. But my mother and boyfriend straight up refuse to let me make that decision. “Okay well, do what you have to do.”
“Bay, don’t act like I’m choosing this over you. I chose my last job
you. So I could stay with you. This opportunity is more than a job. It will affect our future.”
I want to snap back that this will only affect his future for the best, not mine. It’s not like we’re married or anything. But I swallow back my bitchy replies and smile because even though we aren’t married, I am still the girlfriend and I plan to stay that way. “It’s fine, babe. I get it. I’ll survive.”
survive,” he says. “Don’t think I won’t miss you like crazy because I will.”
I roll my eyes. He doesn’t need to sound like such a martyr. I know just as much as he does that travelling around with the rich and famous isn’t in any way a form of survival. It’s luxury living and he’ll get paid for it, too.
Still, it’s pretty freaking awesome that I’m dating a guy who hangs out with the rich and famous. Jace steals the thoughts right out of my head. “Plus I’m going to take you with me every chance I get.”
“Really?” I ask as I grip the phone tighter.
“Totally. Whatever I’m doing over Christmas break, you’ll be with me.”
Shit. Speaking of Christmas…my birthday is at the start of December. Jace and I had made plans to
hang out at my town’s Winter Festival, eat tons of junk food and then have a sleepover in front of the fireplace. He had promised to block off his training schedule for those two days so he could spend them with me. “I guess you won’t be able to come to the Winter Festival,” I say as I gnaw on my bottom lip. “Or…my birthday.”
“I will be there,” Jace says, almost too quickly. How could he even know that?”
“You will?” I ask suspiciously.
“Of course, Babe. I won’t miss your birthday.”
There’s a pause and I feel my heart drop into my stomach. “No. I can’t promise. But I will try.”
I blink back tears and tell myself to stop being such a baby. Birthdays are just another day. It’s not that big of a deal. “I guess a happy surprise is better than a broken promise,” I say in an effort to look on the bright side of things. Because even though this situation completely sucks, at least I still have the world’s greatest boyfriend.
“I love you, Bayleigh,” Jace says. “And that one is a promise.”
An annoying beeping sound wakes me up at six a.m. on Saturday morning. With a groan and a mental threat to murder whoever or whatever is making the noise, I throw off the covers and scramble out of bed to my second floor window.
The sun is barely peeking out above the horizon but it’s enough light for me to see the massive side of a rented moving truck. The beeping sound continues as the truck backs into the driveway next door. I guess it’s about time that someone moved into that house since it had been vacant for months, but did they have to move in at six in the freaking morning? I don’t even wake up this early on school days.
My little brother Bentley crashes into my room in the next instant, screaming my name and jumping on my bed. He stops once he hits my sheets and looks around, confused as to why I’m not
under them. When he sees me, he laughs and rushes over to the window and presses his tiny hands to the glass. “Bay, did you see the truck?”
He points to the truck and looks back at me. “It’s huge!”
I nod and try to seem enthusiastic for his sake. The kid loves trucks, heavy machinery and anything that makes noise. He also loves waking up at the butt crack of dawn. “It’s cool, dude,” I tell him in the middle of a yawn.
“We should go downstairs and meet them,” he says. “Maybe they have kids my age.”
I smile at him. “I don’t know about that, it’s kind of early.”
And I’m dying to get back to sleep.
“Maybe you can go back to bed and Mom can take you to go meet them later today.”
Bentley ignores my polite hints to leave my room and grabs my arm. “Maybe they have kids your age too.”
“I’m not a kid,” I say with mock annoyance as I poke him in the ribcage. “I will be eighteen in two months and that means I’ll be an adult.”
He gives me a sinister smile. “But that’s in two months so you’re still a kid now.”
My little brother smiles up at me with a sincerity in his eyes and I can’t help to smile back. To him, I’m still a kid who still likes kid things and enjoys watching SpongeBob Squarepants with him on the weekends. To him, being a kid is the greatest thing ever. I wish I still had that sweet innocence. I wish I could be content with where I am in life, instead of always wishing I was older and not strapped under the chains of high school and adolescence.
After shooing Bentley back to his room, I crawl back under the sheets in my warm bed and proceed to stare at the ceiling, unable to sleep. Outside is filled with voices and laughter and the sounds of doors opening and boxes moving. It sounds like three or four people just moved in next door.
I hear a high-pitched woman’s voice threaten to ground someone if they open another toy box before the rest of the truck has been unloaded. Sounds like Bentley will get his wish of having a new friend to play with. Too bad I don’t get my wish of going back to sleep.
6:17 a.m. Me: The neighbors woke me up. Can’t sleep. Miss you tons.
6:19 a.m. Jace: Jerks! I miss you more.
The buzzing of Jace’s reply makes me jump. I wasn’t expecting him to reply so soon. He, like other normal-minded people, likes to sleep in late.
Me: Crap I hope I didn’t wake you. I was just texting to vent.
Jace: I’m up. Headed to the airport. You can text me whenever you want babe.
Me: Bring me a magnet!
The first time he went out of state while we were dating was when he took a trip back home to visit his family in California. He was only there two days, and it wasn’t even a special trip but he brought me back this touristy California magnet from the airport gift shop. I loved it so much that he also brought me one from New Mexico and even Houston, despite how we live just a couple hours away from there. Now, I guess it’s our thing. Jace gets to travel and I get souvenir magnets.
One day I won’t be a little kid anymore. One day I’ll get to go with him.
Mom is just as excited as Bentley to learn that a new family moved in next door. After they eavesdropped on them through the cracks in the living room blinds for five minutes, Mom rushes into the kitchen and starts preparing a batch of her famous brownies for them. I don’t participate in the window eavesdropping because I am not a weirdo like the rest of my family.
Jace texts me nonstop while he waits at Houston’s Hobby Airport for his flight to Anaheim.
Mom only makes fun of me twice for my incessant texting, which is a huge improvement from how she used to get pissed off any time Ian, my old boyfriend, so much as sent me one text. But things are way different now. Mom likes Jace. Jace is
not like Ian. Plus, my dear old mother has her new boyfriend that she’s been texting several times a day so she’s just as bad as I am. But she won’t admit it, of course.
The doorbell rings right as Mom puts the finishing touches on her plate of brownies that are covered with decorative plastic wrap
and for whatever reason, a silver ribbon. Mom is going a little bit out of her way to impress these people. I head over to the front door and stand on my toes to look through the peep hole. Four faces stare back at me, a picture-perfect example of a married couple with two kids.
“Looks like they beat you to it,” I tell Mom as I pull open the door. Mom rushes to my side, holding the plate of brownies and introduces herself to our new neighbors.
Their names are Melissa and John Williams and they are both dentists. They have a son named Jeff who is exactly Bentley’s age which makes everyone way more excited than they should be.
And then there’s
He’s a high school senior with sandy blonde hair and exactly the sort of handsome features that would have my best friend Becca throwing herself at him. And, you know, me too, if I didn’t have a boyfriend
who I was already crazy about.
As it is, I don’t give a single crap about him and only waste two seconds of time telling him hello before I excuse myself back to the kitchen and make a glass of orange juice. Mom invites them inside and everyone hangs out around the kitchen island, eating brownies and chatting about the neighborhood.
Chase, with this ripped up jeans and black death metal band t-shirt, won’t take his eyes off me. I’m flattered, really, but I also just
do not care. It’s funny how I felt like no guys noticed me at all when I was single but now that I’m happily in an amazing relationship, a new guy seems to be waiting for me around every corner.
Thinking about Jace makes me miss him as always. My phone hasn’t beeped in a while so he’s probably boarding some airplane right about how. I look at the screen anyway just in case, but there are no new text messages.
“I think I’m going to head up to my room,” I say, interrupting Mom and Melissa’s conversation about which of our neighbors are nosy busybodies. “I have uh, homework and stuff I need to do.”
Bentley cocks an eyebrow at me, probably wondering why I chose now of all times to do my homework when normally I avoid it until the last minute. But I’ve said I’m doing homework and I’m sticking to that story because saying the truth: ‘I’m missing my boyfriend like crazy and am going to go stalk his Facebook and swoon over his gorgeous photos until he calls me again,’ would just make me sound
“It was nice meeting you,” Melissa says and I smile and return her sentiment as I walk toward the hallway.
Chase calls my name and I stop in my tracks.
He runs a hand through his hair, almost as if he’s a little embarrassed to be asking this question. “Would you mind going to school with me on Monday? Show me around and stuff?”
“Uh, sure,” I say.
It’s an innocent enough question and I have no problem showing a new student around the high school. As I head into my room and plop back on my bed, my phone finally does vibrate but it isn’t a text from Jace.
It’s a Facebook friend request from
Chase Williams. That’s an innocent gesture, too. No big deal at all.
But something tells me I probably won’t be telling Jace about my new neighbor.