The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls


Page 25 of 25


“Yes, because you ranted about it for weeks,” Kat groans.

Vi glares at her. “That’s because there still aren’t that many lesbian and bi characters on TV, and representation is really important. So, in my fics, I give my favorite characters their happily-ever-afters. Or I take characters who might be straight in the canon and make them queer.”

Bea smiles. “I like that. Do you think you’d ever write your own original characters?”

“Maybe,” Vi says. She traces a flower on the love seat with her fingertip. “I think maybe it would be fun to write a book someday.”

“You could be an author–bookseller, like Judy Blume! She runs a bookstore in Key West. And Ann Patchett owns one in Nashville,” Des says.

“Nashville, huh?” Bea blushes. “I’ve heard that’s a really cool city.”

“You are being so shady right now,” Kat accuses her, and then she turns back to Vi. “I can’t believe you thought we’d make fun of you.”

“Sometimes I feel like nobody takes me seriously,” Vi admits, “’cause I’m the youngest.”

“Are you kidding? You are way more confident than I was at fifteen, or than I am now, for that matter. You’re so you, and you don’t care what anybody thinks,” Bea says.

“I feel like nobody takes me seriously because I have so many feelings,” Kat confesses, and Vi has to admit that sometimes that’s true. It can be hard to tell when Kat’s performing to get attention and when she really means it.

“But all those feelings make you a really good actress,” she points out.

“Kat, I feel like you don’t take me seriously sometimes because I don’t care about makeup and fashion and boys. Or girls,” Des complains.

“That’s not true! We’re going to miss you so much,” Kat says.

“Because I cook?” Des jokes. “You will still see me all the time. I promise. What about you, Bea?”

“Me?” Bea ponders for a minute. “I guess I feel like everyone takes me too seriously. Like I can’t ever relax, because I’ll never do enough or be enough.”

“I think you put that on yourself, honey,” Gram says. “As for me…I know you girls make fun of all the HGTV I’ve been watching.”

“I secretly love Tiny House Hunters!” Bea says. “Those people are bananas.”

“Let’s watch now. And order pizza,” Vi says. She needs to distract herself while she waits to hear from Cece.

The doorbell rings. “Um, did you just make a pizza appear?” Kat asks. “Are you a wizard?”

Des peeks out the window. “It’s for you, Vi.”

“Ooh, is it Cece?” Kat clasps her hands to her heart and pretends to swoon.

“Shut up,” Vi says, blushing.

“The family meeting is hereby adjourned.” Gram grins at Vi. “And tell Cece she can stay for pizza if she wants.”

Vi runs to the front door before one of her sisters can get there first and do or say something mortifying. She was hoping Cece would text her and let her know how things went with her parents. Whether she came out to them or lied. Vi really hopes it’s the former, because the cat is kind of already out of the bag with her own family.

“Hi,” Cece says. She’s changed out of her black hostess dress into short pink shorts and a white tank top that sets off her brown skin.

“Hi.” Vi has zero chill right now. “How…um…how are you?”

“I wanted to tell you in person how my talk with my family went,” Cece says.

“Okay.” Vi gestures toward the chairs on the front porch, and Cece sits in one, her hands clasped together in her lap. She doesn’t look sad. At least Vi doesn’t think so. Does that mean Gram was right, and everything went well? Vi sits down next to her.

“Mami was so mad when she saw the blog, she wanted to go down to the newspaper office and give Mr. Lockwood a piece of her mind. But she says she doesn’t care who I date, whether it’s girls or boys, as long as they treat me well. And Papi said that boys only want to get in my pants so he would rather I date girls. Which is stupid, but it works in our favor, so I let that go for now.” She grins, and Vi smiles back.

“I’m so glad.” Our favor, Cece said. Hope creeps over her like morning glory.

“Abuela was the biggest surprise though, because she wasn’t surprised. She said she could tell from the way I looked at you when you came over for dinner that I liked you as more than a friend.”

“Really?” Vi’s heart leaps. “And she’s okay with it? She doesn’t think it’s sinful?”

“She says she is still figuring out where she stands on marriage being only between one man and one woman. So we’ve got some work to do. But she said God doesn’t make mistakes, and no way is anything about me a mistake. She said she loves me and she wants me to be happy. And she said you can come over for tamales and Canasta any time.” Cece wipes away a tear with the back of her hand. “I am so relieved, Vi. You have no idea. I mean…actually, I guess you do. But it’s like this huge weight has been lifted. Now I can just be happy. And I can do this.”

“Do what?” Vi asks, nervous.

Cece stands, grabs Vi’s hands, and pulls her to her feet. “This.”

And then she kisses Vi. Right there on the front porch, with Kat spying on them through the window and Mr. Mitchell walking Juno down the brick sidewalk. Gorgeous, popular Cece Pérez kisses strange, bookish little Vi Garrett for the whole world to see.

And it is amazing.

Acknowledgments

Like my character Bea, I love to make lists. Here’s a list of the amazing folks who helped turn an idea that started off as “Little Women meets Gilmore Girls by way of Sarah Dessen” into a real book.

• My agent, Jim McCarthy, who is a constant source of support and reassurance.

• Annette Pollert-Morgan, for her helpful notes and for loving the Garrett girls.

• Sarah Kasman, for keeping things running smoothly and answering all my questions.

• Cassie Gutman, for her fantastic line edits and her patience.

• Copyeditor Kelly Burch and proofreader Sabrina Baskey, for finding all my mistakes.

• Designers Jillian Rahn and Nicole Hower, for making the book look gorgeous inside and out.

• Lathea Williams, Alex Yeadon, and Beth Oleniczak, for helping the book find its readers.

• Robin Talley, Katherine Locke, and Tehlor Kay Mejia, for their insightful early reads.

• Lindsay Smith and Miranda Kenneally, for cheerleading and margaritas the size of our heads.

• Tiffany Schmidt, Lauren Spieller, and Bess Cozby, for Highlights magic.

• Jill Coste, for help with Kat and marathon phone dates.

• Jenn Reeder, for forgiving me all my canceled Tuesdays.

• My husband, for everything. This book would not exist without you.

• Tiffany Schmidt again, for being this book’s fairy godmother from start to finish.

• And last but never least, my readers, for picking up this book when you have so many choices. Which Garrett girl are you most like? I can’t wait to hear from you.

About the Author

Jessica Spotswood is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles (Born Wicked, Star Cursed, and Sisters’ Fate) and Wild Swans. She is the editor of the feminist historical anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats and The Radical Element and coeditor of the feminist witch anthology Toil & Trouble. Jess lives in Washington, DC, where she works as a children’s library associate for the DC Public Library.

Also from Jessica Spotswood

Talented. Troubled. Cursed.

What if all the rumors are true?

“A beautiful novel about the complexity of family and the magic of first love. I couldn’t stop turning pages.”

—Lauren Barnholdt, author of Two-Way Street and Heat of the Moment



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